Starbucks Vietnam and The Asia Foundation Launch Project to Support Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth

Hanoi, December 5, 2016 — Starbucks Vietnam and The Asia Foundation today announced a one-year vocational training program in Hanoi to prepare young people from disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in Vietnam’s fast-growing food and beverage industry. The Starbucks Vocational Training program will engage 50 youth between the ages of 18 and 24, including those who have been affected by family violence, human trafficking, and poverty, in a training program where they will acquire the professional and life skills required to succeed in the retail sector.

Starbucks Vocational Training program participants.

Youth selected for the Starbucks Vocational Training program with The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Vietnam Michael R. DiGregorio, and Starbucks Vietnam’s Patricia Marques.

As part of the program, youth will receive both classroom instruction focused on subjects such as customer service, English language learning, financial literacy, and work readiness, as well as on-the-job training. Starbucks partners (employees) will actively engage in the program providing seminars and in store experience. Upon completion of the program, youth will receive six months of follow-up assistance to help them secure full-time employment.

“Being an active part of the communities we serve in is intrinsic to who we are as a company,” said Mark Ring, president of Starbucks Asia Pacific. “As Starbucks continues to grow in Vietnam and across Asia, so too does our aspiration to build a different kind of company – one committed to performance that is driven through the lens of humanity – and being a positive force in building the future success of young people.”

We are proud to partner with The Asia Foundation and REACH to provide lifelong experiences and skills for disadvantaged young people,” said Patricia Marques, general manager for Starbucks Vietnam. “Youth in Vietnam represent a huge pool of talent for this dynamic country but at the same time there are also challenges for many young people to gain access to work. We have created this project to build confidence, self-esteem and training which will help them to succeed in the economy.”

Figures from the General Statistics Office in 2015 indicate that the unemployment rate among youth is more than triple the overall unemployment rate, standing at 6.75%. While well-educated workers are able to access expanding opportunities in the private sector, for less educated workers, and particularly those from rural areas, it is much more challenging due to their lack of education, skills and business connections. This leaves them with fewer options and makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.

“The gap between supply and demand in Vietnam’s fast-growing industries is an opportunity to provide disadvantaged youth with market-driven, practical vocational training. And by providing employers with skilled young people, we are proud to partner with Starbucks Vietnam to contribute to the development of a workforce that can help to meet the demands of Vietnam’s rapidly changing economy, while empowering some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities,” said Dinh Thi Kieu Nhung, The Asia Foundation’s project manager.

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.

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 Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: Vietnam
Related programs: Economic Opportunity

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