Visiting local businesses throughout Door County, you will notice the area slowly turning into a mini-United Nations as J-1 Visa students from around the globe come to the area for the summer.
Approximately 500 students will participate in the program in Door County, with about half of those coming over the next few weeks. The J-1 Visa program allows international students to become immersed in American culture while working at area businesses during their summer off from school. The total number of students is not far off from pre-pandemic levels, with the threat of the coronavirus causing the program to pretty much disappear in 2020 before seeing small gains in 2021. Destination Door County Director of Advocacy Phil Berndt is happy the program is rebounding this year since the J-1 students play an essential role in the area during the summer.
Berndt expressed his gratitude to the Social Security office in Green Bay for helping over 100 students get the documentation they needed to work earlier this month by setting up a satellite office in Ephraim for the day. The J-1 visa students come in three waves throughout the summer based on when their schools go on summer break. That allows businesses to get the staffing they need to cover their needs for the entire tourism season.