KUNC's Colorado Edition: Resettled - The Lives Of Refugees In Colorado

Feb 8, 2019

This week's Colorado Edition is a special episode dedicated to stories and voices from KUNC's series, Resettled: The Lives of Refugees in Colorado. More than refugees, these individuals are our neighbors, teachers, local business owners and members of the community. We look at their impact on the places they live in and the state's economy — and what it’s like adjusting to a new culture.

We start with this question: where do the refugees who settle in Colorado come from? For the answer, Catherine Welch spoke with Collin Cannon. He's with the Immigration and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado and gives us the rundown.

Greeley is home to the second-largest refugee community in the state. That's in large part because of low-skilled, high-paying jobs at meatpacking plant JBS. It's tough work — and it can take a toll on those who are employed there. But for refugees looking to start a new life in Colorado, there aren't a lot of other options. Esther Honig speaks with some of the workers who help feed America.

Work in the meatpacking industry may be one of the most common starter jobs for refugees relocating to Colorado, but it doesn't mean that's where they have to stay. Stacy Nick shares the story of one man's path from plant worker to business owner.

Many highly skilled refugees resettling here end up underemployed, often with jobs in the food and beverage or hospitality industries. It can be especially difficult for medical professionals who need a license to continue their careers in the U.S. As Matt Bloom reports, despite efforts from the state, they're running into obstacles.

Life as a teenager going to high school can be tough enough for American-born students. But what if you also had to overcome language and cultural barriers? Stephanie Daniel meets three students from the same family who are making the adjustment together.

Finally, one interesting fact that didn't make it into the stories above is that many refugees take on a new birthday after resettling — Jan. 1. Colorado's Refugee Resettlement Coordinator Kit Taintor explains why.

You can read and listen to all of this week's stories on our website, at Resettled: The Lives of Refugees in Colorado.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our intro music is "Remember Me" by Colorado musician Kalatana. Other music this week by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • "Come As You Are"
  • "Deixa"
  • "Are We Loose Yet"
  • "Waypost"
  • "Dirtbike Lovers"

This episode was hosted and produced by assistant news director Erin O'Toole and managing editor Brian Larson. Digital editor Jackie Hai handled the web. Digital media manager Ashley Jefcoat built the website for Resettled: The Lives of Refugees in Colorado. News director Catherine Welch contributed to this episode.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a weekly look at the top stories from our newsroom. It's available every Friday on our website, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever (RSS) you get your podcasts. You can hear it on the air every Sunday at 9 p.m. on KUNC.