The refugee adults who participate in our adult program are paid to work in the kitchen producing and packaging granola. The program is designed for refugees who are dealing with the most challenging employment barriers: low English, lack of transferable skills and emotional issues related to the trauma they have experienced in their home countries. Our trainees come from many different countries and backgrounds, but most have in common a lack of experience and confidence.
Granola is an ideal product for this group. Making it is fairly labor intensive and involves many steps that can be taught through gestures with minimal English. The kitchen provides a context for teaching job skills that can be applied in any work setting: confidence, team work, English, punctuality etc. The fact that 70% of graduates from our adult program find permanent jobs attests to the effectiveness of this model.
Refugee youth are an underserved group with unique needs. Since the average wait time for resettlement in a refugee camp is 20 years, most of these young people were either born in refugee camps or were very young when their families fled their home countries. After coming to the US, refugee teens often struggle with English, with fitting in socially and academically, and with working through conflicting cultural identities. All refugees are eligible for citizenship five years after arrival, so these young people will have opportunities to attend college, purchase homes, raise families and participate in their communities as fully-integrated American citizens. But many struggle to adjust and need special support to succeed.
To meet the unique needs of refugee youth, Beautiful Day has designed a job training program especially for them. The program consists of a weekly 3-hour afterschool job-readiness class and an 8-hour practical work component. In the job readiness class, trainees learn about the skills they will need to succeed in the American workplace as well as engage in practical lessons related to Beautiful Day’s operations. During the work component, they work in farmer’s markets or in the kitchen where they apply the skills they learned in class.
Farmers' Market Program
Many of our adult and youth trainees work on weekends at local farmers' markets, selling granola and coffee. These markets are great learning opportunities as trainees set up the tables and interact with the public. Trainees practice their English and develop confidence as they chat with customers and sell our products. Most native-born Americans have never had a conversation with a refugee and are fascinated to hear about our trainees’ home countries and experiences. Many friendships have been built across the granola table and several of our trainees have found permanent jobs through the connections they made at the markets. The relationships formed there also further our mission of fostering a more informed and welcoming public response to refugees.
An important part of our mission is to educate our wider community about refugee resettlement. We do this through:
- Speaking Engagements
- Kitchen Tours
- Corporate Events/Conferences
- Business Partnerships
If you're interest in more information or having a conversation about our programs or community education please use this link to send a message to Rebecca