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State, county, local agencies coordinate efforts to serve refugees

With the recent tragic events in Salt Lake City and the attention focused on the refugee community in Utah the Utah Department of Workforce Services would like to remind the community of the on-going services and coordination of efforts between state, county, city and local governments, community based organizations, school districts and the refugee community.

For example, Gov. Jon Huntsman and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon began discussions with the refugee community and service providers a year ago about the sufficiency of refugee services in Utah. As a result, the Governor and Mayor established the refugee working group on Oct. 12, 2006. The group's charter is to review the present refugee resettlement system, its gaps and strengths and recommend solutions or enhancements to the system. The working group has been meeting monthly and meetings are open to the public.

"Our intention when we formed this group last year was to ensure that no one falls through the established safety net of resources available to refugees settling into our state and to find solutions to unmet needs," said Huntsman. "It's critical that all parties involved in the refugee resettlement process work together to assist refugees to successfully integrate into our culture and feel a part of the community."

"I am a strong supporter of the partnership between government and non-governmental organizations for the protection and rights of refugees in Utah," said Corroon. "That is why Salt Lake County has joined the State of Utah and other agencies in these humanitarian efforts."

Many state and local agencies and community-based organizations serve refugees in some way. The refugee working group is an advisory group and brings all of these service providers and refugees together to pool their resources and expertise to develop solutions that best meets the needs of this very diverse community of refugees.

The governor has designated the Office of Community and Culture and its Executive Director, Palmer DePaulis to be the facilitator of the workgroup.

For more information on the Refugee Working Group visit

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