Companies Respond to Needs of Global Families

Today's global economy has many families relocated overseas for years at a time. Whether it's corporate, military, missionary or other jobs that take employees over-seas, there's growing demand for employers to support those families. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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As the director of Human Resources at Harvest Natural Resources, Paul White sees the demands placed on families. He says previously corporations only focused on getting people relocated and paid.

"It's only in the last ten years as we are starting to see more families failing and struggling, repatriating early because they haven't been able to cope, children haven't been able to cope or there's been a high incidence of divorce, substance abuse problems within the family have companies come to realize this is really an economic issue for them."

White says some companies have put in place different support mechanisms such as spouse associations. Today through Saturday the Families in Global Transition is meeting in Houston to discuss ideas to help expatriate families.

"Each one of the sector's that I mentioned missionary, military, corporate, global and diplomatic they all have strengths they all do different things better than anyone else and they all each have their own blindspots."

Dottie Byers and her family lived in Mexico City when her husband was transferred there for more than four years. Byers says coming back to the United States can be just as challenging.

"But for another reason they didn't want to come. Part of the problem was that we were notified of our relocation back to the U.S. right before, literally three weeks before, my oldest daughter would be starting her senior year in high school."

Another issue companies are dealing with is helping spouses who give up careers. Byers left a career as a teacher. Coming back was not easy.

"Getting back into a social circle, getting back into a career, it was really challenging and took quite a long time for us to really get adjusted coming back."

Byers ended up changing her career. Families moving over-seas typically go through cross-cultural training. Byers has found her second career in that field. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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