ERIC Number: ED471927
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
How the Food Processing Industry Is Diversifying Rural Minnesota. JSRI Working Paper.
Fennelly, Katherine; Leitner, Helga
The diversification of rural Minnesota is largely the result of the restructuring of the food processing industry and its recruitment of low-wage laborers. The relocation and expansion of food processing plants into rural areas of Minnesota creates a demand for low-wage labor that can not be met locally. Food processing businesses attract immigrant Latinos, Asians, and Africans, as well as U.S.-born minorities, seeking jobs that do not require high-level skills or English language proficiency. A study mapped the location of large food processing businesses (mostly meat packing plants) in rural Minnesota in relation to the percentage of school children for whom English was a second language and to changes in minority K-12 enrollment from 1991 to 2001. A strong relationship was found between the locations of food processing plants and homes where foreign languages were spoken. In the 16 school districts surrounding large plants, the 10-year change in total enrollment ranged from a 25 percent loss to a 16 percent gain, while minority enrollment increased in all districts (median increase 187 percent). The "new diversity" creates both benefits and challenges for rural communities. While increased school enrollments and numbers of working adults bring economic benefits to communities, challenges include a shortage of decent and affordable housing, the need for social services to help immigrants adjust, increased community tensions, and poor working conditions in the plants. (Contains 35 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Community Change, Diversity (Student), Enrollment Trends, Immigrants, Limited English Speaking, Meat Packing Industry, Minority Groups, Population Trends, Rural Population, Rural Schools, School Demography
For full text: http://www.jsri.msu.edu/RandS/research/wps/wp59.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Julian Samora Research Inst.
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota