IES Exit Leaves Hundreds Without Jobs

by Tony Vindell/LFN

ies_logoGone are the hundreds of people who worked at the two International Educational Services Inc. centers in Los Fresnos so are the scores of vehicles seen parked outside the sources of jobs for many.

As one of the largest employers for the last 30 years, IES decided to close the two centers effective March 31, relocated the minors it was housing under a contract it had with a state and federal agency to other facilities and sent home many of those working at the two places.

The first IES center opened on North Arroyo Boulevard in in 1998; the second years later on Texas Highway 186. Both centers were inside Los Fresnos’ city limits.

Rumors that the centers were closing spread out like wild fire and caught some of the locally elected politicians by surprise.

“Did you know IES is closing down?” a councilman asked a Los Fresnos News reporter. “That’s what I heard.”

“Bummer,” said City Manager Mark Milum when told about the news. “If it’s true it’s a big loss of jobs for this area.”

Some 600 jobs to be exact.

Cary Zayas, an IES spokeswoman, said only about 300 of those jobs will be kept during the transition.

For a town of about 6,000 residents, that is a major loss even though many of those working at the IES centers came from other Rio Grande Valley cities.

Just take a moment to read many of the IES employee reviews posted online.

IES is a social service agency that serves short-term emergency shelter and foster care for unaccompanied alien children, or UAC. Its purpose is to provide a safe, healthy, and home-like environment where children receive care and services to foster a positive future, according to its Web site.

The agency programs are licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and referrals for placement are received solely from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, or ORRs.

The agency has successfully provided services and care for tens of thousands of children in its shelters and foster care programs in South Texas. IES extends a sincere thank you to the hundreds of dedicated staff, foster parents and the community, the agency said in a press release.

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