Refugees train for jobs at college coffeeshop

Refugees need more than job skills, says Kim Hosp, who teaches Pathways to Employment at Denver’s Emily Griffith Technical College. At Emily’s Coffee, refugees learn workplace culture while they improve their English, reports the Denver Post.

“We wanted to create a training program where they can get out in front of the customers,” Hosp said.

Pathways to Employment is a four-week course for intermediate English speakers that has the student spend about five hours per day in a classroom and two hours working at Emily’s Coffee, which opened in 2011. After three weeks working at Emily’s, the student spends the final week doing a job shadow at a different coffee shop.

Refugee students may believe it’s OK to miss work  or be late. Hosp “fires” students who run up too many demerits; they have to re-enroll the following month.

Naseer Al Hamaal, a refugee from Iraq, said he learned to be punctual. “The time is the time here. It’s very important,” he said.

Cosmetology students practice their trade at Emily’s Salon, which offers “a full selection of services, from haircuts, waves and coloring to facials and waxing services” at discount rates.


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