INDUSTRY NEWS - JULY 2015
FOLLOW ROBIN LERNER AS SHE TRAVELS THE COUNTRY TO MEET J-1 EXCHANGE VISITORS AND EMPLOYERS
By Jessica Kissell, Director, Employer Relations
Last summer, the U.S. Department of State took a road trip to meet and learn from J-1 exchange visitors. The countrywide trip was led by Robin Lerner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Private Sector Exchange at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In her role, she oversees the Exchange Visitor Program that brings 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States to study, build skills, and teach each year. As you may imagine, Work & Travel USA students comprise a large number of these visitors!
We encourage you to follow Ms. Lerner’s blog – it’s a great way to hear stories and learn about J-1 exchange visitor and employer experiences from across the country. Who knows, you and your Work & Travel USA students might even be featured!
In addition to Ms. Lerner’s visits, the Department of State (DoS) also will conduct site visits to employers in a continued effort to monitor the Work & Travel USA Program. CIEE has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, both from employers visited and the DoS. These visits are an opportunity for you to showcase your program and the cultural exchange experiences your students are having.
CIEE does not know in advance if or when you’ll be visited, so we recommend educating your staff members about what to do if the DoS stops in. We encourage you to spend a few minutes with DoS representatives to discuss the opportunities you provide, and then allow the representatives to speak with as many students as possible. The DoS is interested in talking with students directly to learn about their work experience and overall program experience, and also will be interested in touring your workplace or any employer-provided housing.
We know your business provides an excellent experience to J-1 exchange visitors. If you have questions or there’s anything CIEE can do to help make potential State Department visits successful, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you do have a visit, please let us know, so that we can follow up with the DoS. Employers often ask if CIEE receives feedback on visits. Our answer is, “No news is good news,” – CIEE is only alerted if the DoS has concerns.