Xlear in American Fork providing 10 jobs for Afghan refugees
In the next few weeks, Utah will be welcoming refugees from Afghanistan. They will need outstretched arms and helping hands to get them established — which is where companies like Xlear, based in American Fork, are making a difference.
After hearing about refugees coming into Utah, Nate Jones, President and CEO of the 20 year-old Utah company wanted to offer something else besides the traditional hygiene kits they have provided.
As the leading manufacturer of xylitol-based oral and nasal hygiene products in North America, Xlear (pronounced Clear) can barely keep up with demand, so they wanted to offer something that is most needed, but hard to come by when you move to a new country: a job. In fact, Xlear is offering 10 of them.
Although Xlear is looking to hire 10 Afghan refugees now, not hiring the “traditional Utahn” isn’t new to the company.
Nearly 40% of the workforce in the production line at Xlear don’t speak English. And they are satisfied with their job because of a technology that only a few companies in Utah use that allows Xlear to share business-based communication about projects, instructions and issues on the line in the employees’ native language. For Xlear, it has really helped get their employees on the same page.
“The software program Redzone, programs communication in their own language. There are 60 different languages available,” Jones said.
On Thursday, Xlear offered tours showcasing the new technology, their job openings for refugees, talking to employees using the technology and allowing the public to see why job opportunities are so critical when starting again in a new country.
Catholic Community Services and other non-profit groups were on hand to see what is being done and what would be needed for these refugee families to become established.
Jones noted that his business is growing globally. “Our growth outside of the U.S. is huge.”
Most of the refugees coming in have at least a rudimentary knowledge of English, if not fully fluent in the language, as they had previously been translators for American troops in Afghanistan, Jones said.
Aden Batar, in the migration services arm of Catholic Community Services in Salt Lake City, is helping to get household items down to the house itself for the refugees to settle in.
“We are getting refugees currently staying at U.S. military bases,” Batar said. “We have three arriving soon.”
Batar said the refugees must stay at the U.S. bases at least two weeks to get paperwork completed, medical check-ups, social security cards and other things provided through Homeland Security, before coming to Utah.
In the meantime, the charity is needing anything that can be used to set up a household from furniture and kitchen supplies to clothing, blankets, sheets and towels.
“Housing is our biggest need,” Batar said. “We are looking for places all over the valley.”
“Our governor called all our community leaders to step up and help refugees,” Batar added. “That is why Xlear doing this is important and noble.”
Xlear also provides free ESL classes two days a week after work, and will provide free transportation to and from the American Fork Trax station every day for refugees who don’t yet have access to transportation.
Batar believes that providing transportation shows Xlear is going beyond what other companies are offering.
“We teach self-suffiency,” Batar said. The refugees are given three months of help and are expected to find employment and be self-sustaining in that time.
Xlear jobs will come with paid holidays, earned PTO (personal time off), very affordable healthcare, skills training, a 4 day work-week, and a competitive starting wage to name a few things.
Although Xlear recognizes many Afghans coming in are highly-educated, this position could be a good starting ground for a long-term career in Utah and they are excited to be able to help Afghan refugees build a stable and predictable future in the state.
Thursday’s tour also had representatives from housing agencies who donated blankets and pillows and spoke about providing housing options for refugees.
Xlear is encouraging other companies to look and see what they can do for people who are looking to adjust to a new life in a new country.
To donate contact Catholic Community Services at http://ccsutah.org.