Effort to attract Latinos to Harrisburg area set to launch

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 11, 2016 12:18 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The U.S. Hispanic population has been steadily growing for more than a decade, and now two groups are hoping to attract more Latinos to the midstate.

The business Latino Connection is working on the project.

It's called Hola Harrisburg.

It says by April, they'll have a website that will breakdown the cost of living in the Harrisburg area compared to other East Coast cities, give an overview of job opportunities, and promote the area's Hispanic culture.

George Fernandez, CEO of Latino Connection, jokingly takes on a New York accent when he talks about Harrisburg's central location.

"They all have a friend or family member who lives in New York or Jersey, you know, and New York or Jersey is not that far from here. So the cost of living in Harrisburg is very different than it is in our neighboring states," says Fernandez.

"That young Latino professional is looking for much more than just their salary, they're looking to have something they can feel that they have a fulfillment at the end of the day. They're looking to outreach to their Latino community."

Fernandez says companies like PNC Bank and Faulkner Honda have already come to him looking for people with bilingual skills to fill open jobs.

He says he gets between 20 and 30 emails and phone calls a week from people outside the area asking about Harrisburg.

The community is also planning a street festival later this year to showcase their culture to highlight why Harrisburg is a viable option for Latinos.

This story has been modified to reflect updated news that the business Latino Connection is working on the project on its own, without support from the Greater Harrisburg Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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