SPOTLIGHT: SAFETY IS A PRIORITY – IN THE COMMUNITY AND AT THE EMPLOYER
Each summer, we welcome thousands of exchange visitors to our country. While there is a lot of focus on the work and cultural exchange components, it is equally important that these exchange visitors are provided with a safe opportunity to live and thrive during their time in the United States. But the effort to ensure the safety of our participants takes a village. Learn how one community and one employer are making it happen:
Cape Cod community:
The biggest safety issues on Cape Cod during the summer months are bike and pedestrian safety, as well as safe housing. The entire community comes together to support students in the summer.
- Housing and a strong volunteer network
- Local volunteers formed and continue to operate the Mid-Cape J-1 Housing Program to support exchange visitors. This program finds local hosts who are willing to offer safe and affordable accommodations for students coming to Cape Cod on the Summer Work Travel Program. The program has a Facebook page where exchange visitors can see potential housing options and fill out applications. In addition, the program helps employers find safe and affordable housing for their exchange visitors. The Mid Cape J-1 Housing Program also partners with Hello Summer J-1 and J-1 Outreach to provide students with rides, local outings, community welcome dinners, and more.
- Bike and pedestrian safety
- Like most communities that welcome exchange visitors every summer, bike and pedestrian safety continues to be a major focus within the Cape Cod community. In response, community groups and sponsors like CIEE have set up the J-1 Bike Safety Training Program with the help of MassRides, MassBIKE, Cape Cod police departments, host employers, local bike shops, and numerous community volunteers. This program holds free bike and traffic training sessions at several host employers throughout the summer. The bike orientations includes a bike safety video, conversations with local police, free bike checks, and free blinking lights to ensure that students are visible on the road at night.
Bike safety is a priority! To view the transportation safety video created in partnership between CIEE, other sponsors, and the U.S. Department of State, please click here. We encourage you to show this video to your exchange visitors.
Morey’s Pier’s, a host employer:
Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, begins setting safety expectations before exchange visitors arrive by including travel and safety reminders in their series of welcome emails called Ezines. When students arrive, they receive a handbook that includes further information: tips on bike safety and ocean safety, as well as general tips on staying safe. These tips, in addition to on-the-job safety advice, are also included in a comprehensive training program that every student must complete before starting their job.
As needed, Morey’s Piers provides additional safety reminders, bulletins, and training throughout the season to make sure every student has the tools to stay safe on the job and in the community. “At Morey’s Piers, safety is our culture: the safety of our visiting guests; the safety of our employees while working; and the general health, safety and well-being of the staff while we host them for the summer season. Safety first, always,” says Denise Beckson, Director of Operations/HR at Morey’s Piers, Beachfront Waterparks & Resorts.
As you find yourself engaging with exchange visitors this summer, ask yourself: What can I do to make their time in America safer and more enjoyable? If you need ideas or support, please contact CIEE. We are glad to help you, your community, and your exchange visitors.
Louisa Creighton-Smith, International Recruitment Consultant
Lindsay Marsh, International Recruitment Consultant