Chapel Hill News

El Centro Hispano to open day laborers site

After 10 years of planning, El Centro Hispano will open a day laborers’ center in its new Carrboro office at 201 W. Weaver St.

The day laborers’ center, where workers will come to find work, will operate in a separate section of the building, with its own entrance and exit.

Natalia Lenis, office coordinator for El Centro Hispano’s Carrboro site, expects the day laborers’ center to open in 2014, ideally June or July.

The center will provide a “secure space” for laborers to be picked up by potential employers each day. Currently, many day laborers wait for work near the BP gas station on Jones Ferry Road, across from Collins Crossing (formerly Abbey Court Condominiums). Lenis explained that the new center will monitor workers as they come and go, to ensure that their treatment is safe and just.

For the workers, the day laborers’ center will offer security, access to computers, and English as a Second Language and literacy classes, Lenis said. For the employers, the center will match them with workers who have the specific skills they need.

“A worker’s center is like a win-win for both sides – employees and employers,” Lenis said.

The project represents 10 years of collaborative planning among groups including El Centro Hispano, Orange County Justice United, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Human Rights Center, St. Thomas More Catholic Church, the Carrboro Police Department, the Town of Carrboro and Board of Aldermen, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and several students at UNC-Chapel Hill.