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Working with immigrants can benefit tent companies

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The cultural makeup of U.S. society has changed, and working with immigrants can be a boon for tent rental companies.

“We have had enormous success with [the immigrant] population at every level of the company,” says Dan Nolan, Tents Unlimited Inc., Marietta, Ga. “We have bilingual employees who help translate, and we work hard to make sure all of our guys have proper documentation. We’ll even pay for an English class if they want to work toward becoming bilingual if they are not already.”

With this benefit also comes some responsibility. Companies have a responsibility not only to the government to employ legally documented workers, but also to the prospective employee as well. Nolan says that some immigrants are taken advantage of by the companies that they work for, simply because they are undocumented.

“There has to be a sensible balance and the workers have to be protected,” he says.

George Smith, Mahaffey Fabric Structures, Memphis, Tenn., says that he also screens all of his employees for the proper paperwork and won’t hire someone if his or her paperwork isn’t in order. He says that immigrant workers are a significant part of the workforce and it is important for companies to find the best way to work with them.

“We have some employees who are bilingual, but it is a lot easier if you can learn a few words yourself,” Smith says. “It gives your brain a workout.”

Julie Young is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, Ind.

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