JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The number of Hispanic individuals is growing in the city of Jonesboro and state of Arkansas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population doubled over the last ten years. In 2000, 2.3% of the population in Jonesboro was Hispanic. In 2010, more than 5% of the population was Hispanic.
Region 8 News contacted the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. Officials with the organization said businesses should take notice of the population surge.
The statistics indicated the Hispanic population increased more than 114% in the state of Arkansas over the last ten years.
Statistics also suggested Hispanic-owned businesses are up. Over a 7-year span from 2000 to 2007, the number of Hispanic businesses grew 160%.
Gayle Vickers at the Jonesboro Department of Community Development told Region 8 News businesses should prepare for an influx of Hispanics. She said the city already works with Hispanic Community Services, Incorporated to provide language and culture classes.
"Since I got here in 1997 to today, I'm like back in Texas with a lot of Hispanic people," said Sandra Morales. "We need to start looking for opportunities for ourselves, not just in the same old jobs they think they can do."
Morales has been part owner of J&S Cleaning Services for about 7 years. She said she manages ten employees of Spanish descent. She said many of her employees have a difficult time at many businesses.
"When going to an office and seeing you like a Mexican or Hispanic person and the people block themselves, because they think, oh she's a Hispanic. She doesn't speak English. She doesn't understand me," said Morales. "You're going to have all kinds of people to work for, and we need to get prepared. What are their needs?"
For more information on Hispanic Community Services, click here.