Vail Symposium to discuss immigration and how it can impact local businesses in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Vail Symposium to discuss immigration and how it can impact local businesses in Edwards

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Amy Novak has her own law practice, focusing on employment and family immigration law.
Special to the Daily

If you go ...

What: Immigration, Locally: How to protect Your Business and Advocate for Workers.

When: Tuesday; Doors open at 5:30 p.m., program begins at 6 p.m.

Where: Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.

Cost: $25 in advance, $35 day-of and at the door.

More information: vailsymposium.org.

the unemployment rate remains at historically low levels — hovering just below 4%. This tight labor market means workers, especially the seasonal workers who are the lifeblood of resort communities, are hard to come by. Resort companies, builders, landscapers, hospitality industry and other large employers have traditionally turned to foreign workers to fill these positions. But as visas become more difficult to obtain and the rules and regulations continue to change, how are businesses to cope? On Tuesday at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards, a panel of experts will address these challenges and discuss potential solutions.

“The inability of local employers to fill essential positions has the potential to degrade service and stifle business growth,” said Kris Sabel, Vail Symposium executive director in a press release. “This situation poses a potential threat to our valley’s economy. I look forward to hearing from our panel of legal and business experts as to potential solutions.”

Tuesday’s program will include a panel of lawyers and local business representatives who can give first-hand insight on this important topic. Some of the questions addressed may include: How are employers affected by the current tense immigration atmosphere as demonstrated by the constricting visa process and aggressive removal practices? What can employers do to ensure they are in compliance? How can employers advocate for expansion, not restriction, of the foreign worker visa program? These and other immigration issues will be discussed by a panel of experts.

About the speakers

Jonathan Grode serves as the practice director for the firm Green and Speigel. Grode has continuously worked in the U.S. business immigration law field since 1999 and has amassed considerable experience obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for new company start-ups, professional workers, artists and entertainers, athletes, physicians and scientific researchers. Grode also has significant experience dealing with the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security enforcement actions as well as with EB-5 Investor filings.

Jennifer Law is currently the human resources director for Vail Resorts, where she has worked in various roles driving strategic business outcomes. Previously, she was the HR director for The Gallegos Corp., a large specialty sub-contractor located in Vail, Aspen and Denver as well as the co-owner and principal consultant with HR Link, a High Country human resources outsourcing and consulting firm.

Amy Novak founded the Novak Law office in 2005. Focusing on employment and family immigration, her firm has built a reputation for working extensively with clients to deliver successful results. Novak also heads up the Colorado office for the renowned law firm Green and Spiegel. As a leading national speaker and expert on temporary employment visas, she is responsible for their nationwide H-2B practice. Her extensive experience has benefited many clients throughout the country as she has skillfully maneuvered through multiple Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division audits. Novak is also a participant in both the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s local Colorado chapter and the national organization where she frequently lectures, lobbies and writes on immigration-related topics.

Gary Woodworth is president and CEO of The Gallegos Corporation based in Wolcott. With offices in Wolcott, Aspen and Denver, The Gallegos Corp. has used the H-2B Guest worker program to supplement the peak seasonal construction workforce need over the last 20 years. Woodworth is a member of the Seasonal Employers Alliance (SEA) Government Affairs committee working to address cap limitations and other challenges facing employers with a seasonal workforce shortage. In addition to H-2B reform, Woodworth is actively involved with the CareerWise program in local high schools, Youth Power 365 and the Vail Valley Partnership. As an Eagle Valley resident for 39 years, Woodworth has worked with The Gallegos Corp. for 31 years.