Since the tragic attacks in Paris earlier this month and the subsequent search for those responsible, the debate over whether to allow refugees from the Middle East entry into the United States has heated up considerably. As American politicians try to keep them out, Europe has faced the reality of millions of people fleeing war arriving in its countries. Germany has become the Promised Land that many refugees are trying to reach as they trek across the continent. As a major German manufacturer, BMW is pitching in to help integrate them into German life and work.
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The BMW Group’s refugee initiative is called simply “WORK HERE!”, and it is a nine-week program to assist those settling near BMW plants. Many do not have their diplomas with them, and their professional references are often also displaced, which makes proving refugee qualifications difficult. The BMW program seeks to give participants an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a real-life situation so that they can be validated. WORK HERE! also provides training in areas such as human resources, marketing, IT, production, and finance with employee mentors. The program also offers language instruction and cultural integration courses, and supplemental classes in computer skills as needed.
At this time, the WORK HERE! program is active in Munich and working with 40 refugees. BMW’s goal is to eventually have 500 refugees participate as WORK HERE! expands to other locations. Milagros Caiña-Andree, the member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Human Resources, stated simply “It is only natural for us to help integrate people who were forced to leave their home and come here. People from more than 100 different countries work together very successfully every day at the BMW Group in Germany alone. For us, integrating people from different cultures is something we do every day, and an important concern that we promote both inside and outside the company.”
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We will see how the BMW initiatives change as the EU decides how to assist people fleeing wars in the Middle East. It will also be interesting to see if any other automakers start similar programs to help during the largest refugee crisis since World War II.
News Source: BMW