Jos. A. Bank honored for helping refugees

May 17, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

For Jos. A. Bank in Hampstead, accepting referrals from Jewish Vocational Services is simply another avenue for finding good employees.

But to the Maryland Office for New Americans (MONA), which places refugees through JVS, hiring more than 50 foreign-born employees in the past year and a half is an action worthy of recognition.

The clothier, which has manufacturing facilities in Baltimore and Hampstead, will be one of 10 Maryland companies recognized today by MONA for "outstanding records of providing job opportunities to legally authorized foreign-born workers," said Martin Ford, the office's community liaison specialist.

"This is kind of a surprise," said Joseph Timmons, vice president of human relations of Jos. A. Bank. "It's as big an advantage to us as it is to JVS. We get quality employees this way."

Jos. A. Bank has hired more foreign-born workers than any other employer working with MONA in the state, a spokeswoman from the state office said.

MONA is a 2-year-old program helping refugees find work and

adjust to American society, the spokeswoman said.

"One of our job development people spoke very highly of Jos. A. Bank," said Mr. Ford.

Bank, however, has been working with JVS longer than MONA has existed, Mr. Timmons said.

"We just search out as many different referral agencies as we can find," he said. "I'm not sure how we happened upon [JVS]."

Through the vocational service, the company hired 38 foreign-born workers in 1993 and has hired 16 more so far this year, Mr. Timmons said.

Most of the new employees have been Russian immigrants, he said.

"Most of them are manufacturing jobs -- pressers, maintenance people, mechanics and sewing machine operators," Mr. Timmons said.

"Some are unskilled, like distribution jobs, and some have similar kinds of backgrounds [in sewing]," he added.

Jos. A. Bank has also received recognition for hiring disabled employees, he said.

"It's very nice to have recognition, but it's a plus for us," Mr. Timmons said of the awards. "We do as much of that kind of thing as we can."

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