- A group of 33 employers including Amazon, Pfizer and Tyson Foods, among others, have signed onto an initiative to hire Afghan refugees, according to an announcement released Wednesday.
- The initiative, known as the Tent Coalition for Refugees, was founded by Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016 and has so far signed on more than 180 participating firms. Tent made the announcement in conjunction with its U.S. Business Summit on Refugees event last week. A summary of commitments made at the summit showed participating employers planned to hire more than 20,000 refugees over the next three years.
- Some participants announced additional support for refugees. LinkedIn, for example, said it would provide training and employment resources to 18,000 refugees globally over the next three years, and Coursera said it would provide training resources for 15,000.
The announcement came just days prior to a U.S. Department of State announcement that the U.S. would provide some $327 million in additional humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, including nearly $119 million allocated to the agency’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
A February report from the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization, estimated that the U.S. had welcomed more than 76,000 Afghan refugees in the months since the U.S. withdrew military forces from Afghanistan.
Executives with the Tent Coalition drew direct connections between the situation in Afghanistan and Wednesday’s announcement. “America is at a critical juncture, and every part of our society must play its part to welcome our Afghan brothers and sisters,” Ulukaya said in a statement. “They have stood by our side, and we must stand by theirs,”
The hiring commitment builds off other recent refugee support efforts by large U.S. companies. Earlier this year, Amazon said it would dedicate additional resources to its refugee and humanitarian-based immigrant employees via a new program, Welcome Door, such as financial assistance, reimbursement for employment authorization renewal fees and free legal resources.
Recent international crises have led to increased calls for U.S. employers to address relocation issues, both for existing employees affected by violence and nonemployees seeking refuge. Aside from hiring initiatives, employers may choose to integrate immigrant employees by offering benefits like English as a second language classes. Additionally, HR teams also can work to ensure recognition of immigrant workers’ cultures, including by providing cultural competency classes for co-workers.
In order to ensure hiring practices are inclusive of refugee and humanitarian-based immigrant workers, employers also may need to adjust their processes to account for technological and other hurdles, sources previously told HR Dive. Once these workers are brought on board, employers can explore options such as mentorship programs, as WeWork did as part of its 2018 refugee hiring commitment.