COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – A Warsaw-based company will help move 45 workers from Puerto Rico ton Columbia City after Hurricane Maria ravaged the area.
Zimmer Biomet is headquartered in Warsaw but has operations in more than 25 countries around the world, according to their website. The company manufactures medical devices.
Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel said about 45 workers and their families are expected to settle in the city over the next few weeks. The community is only a short drive from Warsaw and offers more housing options for families.
The workers are expected to stay for about 15 months according to Daniel. He said while others may not see this as a big deal, he sees opportunity.
“We are going to roll out the red carpet for them,” he said. “Tell them that they are welcome in this community and we want them to plant roots here.”
Daniel said Columbia City has a population of about 9,000 residents. He would like to reach 10,000. It not only means growth in the community, but it opens the door for more economic development in the future.
“You get a lot more looks, economic development looks, commercial looks, and certainly even residential,” he said.
Plans are being developed to provide resources and assistance to those moving in.
Jennifer Romano of Whitley County Chamber of Commerce said they have developed welcome packets equipped with information they will need day to day. The city is also working to convert important documents to Spanish and there will be a job fair for spouses and extended family member who may be looking for employment.
“Our Chamber of Commerce is working on it, our Economic Development Corporation is working on it, our schools are working on it to try to make sure we’re bridging any language barriers we may have,” sand Daniel.
Daniel said the community has been just as welcoming. Many have offered resources and some willing to help with translation if needed.
“You know with the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico I think it’s even more important for us to welcome these individuals with open arms,” he said.