Emily’s Coffee, a Refugee Job Training Program, Celebrates Five Years of Serving Some of Denver’s Best Coffee with $1 Drinks
Five years ago, Emily’s Coffee opened to the public and has been serving great espresso for a great cause ever since. Now located in the lobby of the Emily Griffith Campus at 1860 Lincoln Street, the venture is a project of the Language Learning Center of Emily Griffith Technical College, where refugees from around the world are provided with the necessary and varied instruction to help them compete successfully in the workforce and be self-sufficient citizens.
The plan for the coffee shop stemmed from a need to provide more hands-on job training for refugees who arrive in Colorado. The program that prepares refugees for employment is based on a successful training method designed to coach individuals on various job skills and familiarizes them with the culture of the American work environment.
Emily’s Coffee teaches transferable skills and is a valuable opportunity for refugees to learn money management and customer service techniques in an active American work setting. Participants also learn soft skills such as teamwork, problem solving, active listening, reliability, promptness, and interview techniques. These individuals will be more likely to retain positions with applicable skills and a good understanding of what is expected of them.
“We partner with many businesses that hire refugees,” says Kristopher Rainer, Emily’s Coffee Shop Manager. “They consistently tell us customer service is an important quality they look for in an employee. Emily’s Coffee provides a dynamic learning experience for our students to obtain critical skills so they are competitive in today’s job market.”
A full espresso bar provides a menu of tasty drinks similar to other retail coffee shops, but at more affordable prices. There are also pastries, prepared by students of the College’s professional baking program, available for hungry visitors.
The Language Learning Center of Emily Griffith Technical College is Colorado’s oldest and largest English Language Acquisition program. It educates up to 3,000 refugees and immigrants from more than 90 countries every year.
12 students have finished the program since July and 50 more are expected. Emily’s Coffee celebrated the graduation these two stand out students among many others. Every one has an amazing story to tell.
Deivy, a young Cuban student has a great zest for life and will finish his GED program in December. He plans to start HVAC in January. He has a second interview at Fluid Coffee coming soon, hoping for a part-time job.
Olusegun, a blind student originally from Nigeria is currently taking the entrepreneur class at EGTC. He’s been researching our tea vendor, Tea Spot, and will tour the roaster’s facilities next month as they are currently under construction. He is job shadowing at Starbucks and wants to gain as much knowledge on different shops and methods so he can open to his own shop.