Migrant workers to take on jobs, live in central Illinois

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Cultivadores Latino Center food giveaway from 2017. Photo: The News-Gazette Cultivadores Latino Center food giveaway from 2017. Photo: The News-Gazette

RANTOUL, Ill. (WAND) – Thousands of migrant workers are expected to pour into Champaign County for summer work.

The News-Gazette reports county communities will take in close to 4,000 workers to stay for the summer months. Seed corn companies have recruited the workers for field jobs, which will pay between minimum wage and $14 an hour.

About 150 of those workers are already busy cleaning apartments at the University of Illinois.

Rev. Nelson Cuevas, who runs the Cultivadores Latino Center, told The News-Gazette that all of these workers are legal U.S. citizens and a growing number speak English. Younger people are taking on migrant work because the Migrant Council can often cover college education for them.  

Field projects will send some of the workers as far as Indiana or Bloomington-Normal.

Living arrangements are expected to be in hotels and apartments in Champaign County.

As many as 600 people, along with their families, will receive assistance with living necessities from the Cultivadores center in Rantoul. Director Rev. Nelson Ceuvas says the center will prove food through the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and donations from the community. The pantry is expected to run as many as six times for people working in Rantoul and Champaign-Urbana.

Anyone interested in helping with donations can bring or mail items to the Cultivadores Latino Center at 555 S. Maplewood Drive.

The News-Gazette says as many as half of the migrants will take jobs in laboratories owned by the seed corn companies, along with other jobs, after the field work ends. Cuevas told the paper the crowd is expected to be in central Illinois between June and December of 2018.

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