Burgers, Burritos…and Jobs!
Mohammad Mohammad Yousof and Mohammad Haji Nader, refugees from Afhanistan, went to work at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Charlottesville in August.
When University of Virginia students come to town in August, refugee job opportunities surge. Restaurants that struggled through the summer days now fill their seats with customers and their kitchens with staff. Refugees who are still learning English are able to find steady work in jobs where their skills and work ethic are prized. And the IRC’s employment team stays busy preparing clients for job interviews, orienting them to new workplaces, and matching clients with employers’ needs.
Two of the area’s most popular fast-casual restaurant chains, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Chipotle Mexican Grill, led the race in early August for IRC clients to complete their staffs. Newly arrived refugees who went to work included Bhutanese, Afghani, Iraqi, and Congolese women and men. Since the IRC’s employment partnership with Five Guys began five years ago, the company has hired 16 refugees and promoted one of them to manager of a local restaurant. The IRC’s one-year-old relationship with Chipotle in Charlottesville, part of an IRC effort to build a larger nationwide partnership, has led to jobs for 10 refugees.