Bilingual Employees Needed

The increasing demand for bilingual employees has some local businesses offering pay incentives.

In the last seven years the Hispanic population in Texas has grown nearly 11%.

Because English is often a second language or not spoken at all, business managers say having a bilingual worker on staff improves customer relations.

For the first time the City of Amarillo is offering qualified employees fifty dollars a month to participate in the bilingual pay incentive program.

Donna Makkhavane of the City says, "There's many places, the library, so there are several areas where the city offers services, our public health department or even animal control."

Maria Carbajal has been working for the City utility department nearly 15 years and says she has noticed the Amarillo Hispanic population continue to grow.

"Sometimes it feels like most of my customers are Spanish speaking. Especially during busy days it feels like they all come and call."

She says speaking the same language allows customers to understand important information much better.

"We are able to explain in detail every single regulation that they don't understand talking to somebody else. And that seems to be a problem when somebody else is talking to them who really doesn't understand fully Spanish speaking language."

The employee pay incentive program is subject to approval by the mayor and city council. There are currently 15 city employees who have been approved for the program.

The city council will put the incentive plan up for vote each year.