More than 30 companies including Amazon, Facebook, Pfizer, and Tyson Foods have vowed to create economic opportunities and provide resources for Afghan refugees as they start their new lives in the United States.
The 34 companies, which stem from all sectors including tech, retail, and food service industry, have joined the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees, which aims to integrate Afghan refugees into the United States through the creation of job opportunities as well as by providing training and other resources.
Companies who have joined the coalition include Accenture, the Adecco Group, Amazon, APCO, Bain & Company, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Chobani, Coursera, Deloitte, Facebook, Gap, General Assembly, Henry Schein, Hilton, HP, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Jacobs, Kleen-Tech, Mastercard, Panda Express, Pfizer, Rejuvenation—a Williams-Sonoma, Inc. brand, ServiceNow, Sitel Group, Sodexo, Tripadvisor, Tyson Foods, Uber, UPS, US Xpress, Wayfair, and Western Union.
In a statement published on Tuesday, Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani and Founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, said “America is at a critical juncture” and that the United States must “play its part to welcome our Afghan brothers and sisters.”
“They have stood by our side, and we must stand by theirs,” Ulukaya said.
“I am so proud of the businesses stepping up today—and hope that many more will join our coalition. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—the moment a refugee gets a job, it’s the moment they stop being a refugee. It’s the moment they can stand on their own two feet; it’s the moment they can make new friends; it’s the moment they can start a new life.”
Online shopping giant Amazon said it already hires immigrants and refugees across the company as part of its diverse workforce, particularly at its fulfillment and transportation centers. The online retailer also trains and places high-skilled refugees in corporate roles across different business teams, it said.
Refugees working in its fulfillment and transportation centers also have access to the company’s Career Choice program in which it funds full college tuition, as well as high school diplomas, GEDs, and English as a Second Language (ESL) proficiency certifications.
Amazon announced it will fully cover the college tuition of 750,000 of its hourly employees in the United States earlier this year and said it plans to start the initiative in January, and by 2025 it will have cost $1.2 billion.
The company also provides refugees with skills training opportunities through a free full-time 12-week program called AWS re/Start which prepares unemployed and underemployed people for careers in cloud computing.
“We are committed to expanding and improving on these efforts and providing employment support for the refugee population, including the imminent need for Afghan refugees,” Beth Galetti, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of People eXperience and Technology, said in a statement.
An August poll by CBS News found that 81 percent of Americans feel the United States should support at-risk Afghans who worked for U.S. troops and officials in recent years, in intelligence or as translators.
The same poll found that 59 percent of people thought the United States was not currently doing enough to help Afghan people who are trying to leave the country since the United States withdrew its troops in mid-August and the Taliban terrorist group subsequently took over the country.