Demand for bilingual employees increases - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Demand for bilingual employees increases

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With more Hispanics moving into our area every year, the demand for bilingual workers increases.

The number of Hispanic homes increased by about 4,000 from 2011 to last year, and by about another 600 this year according to the Nielsen Television Index. Businesses are trying to hire more bilingual speakers to serve the growing population of Hispanics.

Wes Reeves with Xcel Energy says, "It's just becoming more and more important with more Spanish speakers. It's not that a lot of these folks can't speak English, but maybe they're more comfortable speaking Spanish. So we do provide that option to customers when they call." Reeves says having bilingual speakers improves communication and adds to business. They've hired 20 and are looking to hire at least 10 more.

A local business, First Mortgage, says they're also looking to hire several bilingual workers. Representatives say their Hispanic cliental has grown about 30% in the past year and a half. And many people coming from Mexico, Cuba, or Colombia need to have the process of buying a home explained to them because it's different from their original country.

Loan Officer Patricia Baca says, "The process is different, you know, we have to explain to them how it is. And a lot of people when they go into any bank or any other institution. They just say 'Oh just sign here, here, and here. And they have no clue what they're signing."

Baca says the majority of legal documents are in English. And it's important they understand loans, payments, and interest rates they're agreeing to. She says, "You explain it to them in Spanish, you know, in their native language. They feel comfortable, you know, they're not hesitant, you know, to signing. And they send you those referrals."

And this is a way to increase business. Baca says, "Those clients that I did close business with, they started sending their family members. And by word-of-mouth, you know, in the Hispanic community is once somebody knows you and trusts you, they start sending their grandmothers, and abuelas, and tios, tias, and everybody else. And so by word-of-mouth that has become my source of business."

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.