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Rapid relocation of more than twenty-four hundred Somali refugee secondary migrants to Lewiston, Maine, over the last six years has been the subject of much national media coverage and academic interest. Many "new Mainers" continue to arrive in our community from around the country with little or no English-speaking ability; limited job skills; and a variety of social service, employment, health, and educational needs.
In Lewiston, local, state, and nonprofit organizations such as Catholic Charities Maine have worked closely with city and public school staff to ensure that the impact on local taxpayers is minimized through creative non-municipal program funding as well as eliminating or modifying needless, redundant, or ineffective programming. Ongoing work by both city officials and residents has addressed a variety of complex needs confronting our new immigrant community.
In addition to the language and cultural differences that have produced some public and adult education funding increases, a growing immigrant adult population has revealed deficiencies in public health and state job training strategies for non- or limited-English speakers. New city, state, and nonprofit partnerships have responded to immigrant adult unemployment by improving demographic data gathering; they are addressing language-related and culture-based health challenges through public …