This study has two objectives: to describe Central Americans' employment experience in the Boston area by focusing on cleaning workers and to explore the reasons why Central Americans in particular, and immigrants in general, become concentrated in industries like cleaning. The study highlights a number of characteristics of immigrant workers and of cleaning work that contribute to employment in the industry. Recent immigrants need jobs that do not require English skills or formal training, can be accessed informally, and offer schedules that allow them to take on additional work. Cleaning companies, in turn, need a constant source of reliable workers who are willing to do work that many consider undesirable in return for relatively low wages. The study suggests that the key factor linking Central American workers with cleaning is the formation of social networks in immigrant communities, which aid in transmitting employment information. The results also suggest that although they view cleaning jobs as temporary, many Central Americans remain in the industry for long periods because they lack better employment opportunities.



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