Starbucks Vietnam and Asia Foundation Extend Vocational Training Project for Disadvantaged Youth

Hanoi, July 25, 2017 — Starbucks Vietnam and The Asia Foundation, a nonprofit international development organization, today announced the extension of a vocational training partnership for an additional year. Launched in 2016, the project is designed to prepare young people from disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in Vietnam’s fast-growing food and beverage industry. The next phase of the Starbucks Vocational Training program will engage 60 youth between the ages of 18 and 29, including those who have been affected by family violence, human trafficking, and poverty.

The unemployment rate among Vietnamese youth is more than triple the overall 6.75 percent unemployment rate, according to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office 2015 figures. While well-educated workers have access to growing opportunities in the private sector, for less-educated workers, particularly those from rural areas, the lack of education, skills, and networks leaves many with limited work options and are vulnerable to exploitation.

“Starbucks is proud to continue its partnership with The Asia Foundation to support youth in Vietnam. I’m delighted that the first wave which completed the program has been successful in finding jobs, and our renewed commitment to the vocational training program will provide opportunities for more young people to gain meaningful employment,” said Mark Ring, president of Starbucks Asia Pacific. “As Starbucks continues to grow in Vietnam and Asia, so too does our commitment to being a positive force in building the success of young people.”

Vietnam Country Representative Michael DiGregorio with Starbucks Scholars.

“We are pleased to contribute to the future of marginalized youth in Vietnam,” said Dinh Thi Kieu Nhung, The Asia Foundation’s project manager. “Without a practical training program, young Vietnamese will continue to have limited job options, apart from working in the agricultural or informal sectors—trading on the street or performing low-wage manual work—without the protection of proper labor contracts, health insurance, or protection under the Labor Law.”

The initial program provided vocational training, career advice, and job placement services to 50 vulnerable, marginalized youth ages 18-24 in Vietnam. In November 2016, the first cohort of 19 trainees supported under this grant attended classes on food and beverage production. They completed the program in March 2017, and 17 of them (almost 90%) secured employment with cruise-liners in Quang Ninh province or restaurants in Hanoi. The second cohort of 31 trainees started their courses in early April and 30 of them graduated in early July 2017. From the second cohort of 31 trainees, 29 (or 94%) of the participants have secured jobs with cruise ships in Quang Ninh province or luxury restaurants and resorts in Lao Cai province and Hanoi.

Starbucks Vietnam and The Asia Foundation will implement this program in partnership with REACH, a local non-governmental organization specializing in providing vocational training, career advice, and job placement to some of Vietnam’s most disadvantaged youth. Funding for the project is supported by Starbucks Foundation through the Starbucks Fund at Give2Asia.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century—governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation.

Read more about The Asia Foundation’s work in Vietnam here.

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Related locations: Vietnam
Related programs: Economic Opportunity

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