Refugees fleeing the destructive war plaguing their homeland already have to undergo a strenuous admissions process in order to seek asylum in the United States – once they arrive, however, they’re given very few tools to get by in American society.
That’s why Sparrow Furniture is welcoming migrants with open arms as they seek meaningful employment in Salem, Oregon.
After one to two years of training and language development, the business’s founder Luke Glaze says that Sparrow Furniture will then help their refugee workers move onto other employment opportunities where they can experience upward job mobility.
In order to kick off the organization’s mission, Glaze created a Razoo crowdfunding campaign of $50,000 for necessary renovations on their workspace, an abandoned warehouse donated by the Salem Church Alliance. Once they secure the necessary funds, Sparrow hopes to hire 2-3 employees within the first few months.
So far, the page has raised $12,500 and welcomed dozens of comments in support of the cause.
Glaze says refugees in the city have already responded by dropping off resumes and inquiring about employment.
“Ultimately our goal is to hire as many refugees as possible,” Glaze says. “Our business model shows we could hire up to 15 people in three years.”
Salem Church Alliance is also sponsoring other cohesive local resources to aid refugees, such as social services, a free medical clinic, and a community center.
Another Salem business, The Northwest Hub, has expressed interest in using their business model to teach refugees how to repair and build their own bikes for transportation.
“Salem’s response to refugee resettlement has been great,” Glaze says. “The community has really wanted to help and to organize themselves to assist refugees.”
While more than two dozen state governors asked President Obama not to admit Syrian refugees in 2016, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tweeted in November 2015 that Oregon would continue to accept asylum-seekers.
“They seek safe haven and we will continue to open the doors of opportunity to them,” Brown tweeted.
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