in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Teach them what you know

File under: job training, jobs

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From: Julie M., Apex, NC

In my company I have a policy of hiring people that are "unemployable." My workers are Montagnard refugee women from the mountains of Vietnam. These women lived off the land in the jungles all of their lives. What we call poverty, they call wealth. The Montagnards don't feel downtrodden or poor. They are full of ambition and enthusiasm, and they love to work and learn. Poverty can't be cured by some governmental "war;" it's cured one person at a time, learning from one person at a time. Each of my workers comes to me completely unskilled in American life. I design products that are within the skill level of each woman, and keep them working while they're learning new things -- first from me, then from each other, then from volunteers that come to the studio and interns from North Carolina State University. While the interns are teaching the refugee women, they are also learning how to fight poverty.


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