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Owensboro Launches Program to Match Young Refugees with Summer Jobs


Forty young refugees in Owensboro will get jobs this summer thanks to a workforce training grant. The $45,000 grant is from the group Catholic Charities and is being administered through its Kentucky Office of Refugees.  

Karri Calhoun at Owensboro Community and Technical College is coordinator of the ‘Summer Refugee Youth Program.’ She says the project will begin with a newly-developed course called ‘The American Workplace.’            

“At the beginning of the summer, May 30 through June 2, we’re going to offer a course where we’re talking about employability skills, such as attitude, attendance, even small things such as clocking in and out, how to use public transportation and interviews.”

One of the program’s goals is to give area high school students who are refugees the work experience that will help them prepare for future employment. The community college is working with area businesses to match them with the 40 young people in the program.

Many of the teenage refugees in the program want to work to help support their family.

Calhoun says the effort also helps give area residents a broader perspective.

“We feel like if Owensboro sees our refugee population out in our community, it would make it easier for new arrivals when they come into the community.”

Calhoun says having a job is a way the program’s participants can become part of the community.

© 2017 WKU Public Radio

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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