First Wave of Foreign Workers Arrive

OCEAN CITY- The first wave of seasonal workers arrived via bus to Ocean City this week and the Seasonal Workforce Committee was on hand to distribute booklets to the students and workers, informing them of everything from bicycle safety to taxes.

“We tried to make something that these kids will keep,” said Madalaine How, Chairperson for the Seasonal Workforce Committee in Ocean City.

The informational booklet was created this year in an effort to inform the foreign workforce residing in Ocean City for the summer about all of the rules, policies, and ways of life in the resort town.

“We are working hard on bike safety this year with the police department,” said How. The handbook highlights all of the bicycle rules and regulations in Ocean City and provides a picture illustrating never to ride against traffic. The handbook also stresses registering bicycles, as bicycle theft becomes more prevalent.

Access to social security personnel will be the biggest challenge this year for the students, said How. In past years, the Social Security Administration has made itself available at City Hall, making it easy for students to sign up for and obtain a social security card. Signing up for a social security number will have to take place in Salisbury this year however.

In an effort to help seasonal workers reach Salisbury, Beach Express will be providing shuttle service twice a day to Salisbury, Monday through Friday. The shuttles will depart at 6:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. with a round trip fare of $8. Shore Transit, which travels to and from Salisbury from West Ocean City, will also be available to the students as well.

While the Social Security Administration will not be present at City Hall for registration, personnel will come to City Hall on Fridays to distribute social security cards.

“There will be a bank here to work with the kids,” said How. The committee encourages workers to open bank accounts while in Ocean City to avoid loss of earnings through theft or other unexpected occurrences.

Another featured aspect of the handbook this year are hurricane evacuation and flood precautions. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, roughly spanning the time that seasonal workers reside in Ocean City. How noted that the committee is currently, in conjunction with town officials, working on developing an evacuation plan for the 3,000 to 5,000 seasonal workers in Ocean City each summer.

How explained that Ocean City’s evacuation plan typically calls for all visitors to return home in the event of a hurricane. “This is home for these kids so there’s no place for them to go,” said How, pointing out that the seasonal workers can’t ‘go home’ as easily as vacationers can in the event of an evacuation.

The handbook also provides information on medical access throughout town, transportation, wages and compensation, housing, and helpful hints about the United States. A schedule of free dinners and events is also included, urging seasonal workers to take advantage of the church sponsored dinners where many of the foreign students gather to meet new people.

“We want these kids to have a very positive experience,” said How.