LEWISTON (AP) - A Bates College study finds that a lack of English language skills is the biggest barrier to employment for many new Somali residents of Lewiston and Auburn.
The report also cites frustration among Somalis that many entry level jobs require certification that the applicant has U.S. high school-level academic skills. Somalis say prior job experience in other states should be accepted as a substitute for the General Education Development certificate.
The Maine Department of Labor says the 2006 unemployment rate among Somalis in the Twin Cities was 51 percent. The statewide jobless rate among all Mainers at that time was 6.2 percent.
The Bates study was done for the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Career Center in Lewiston.