Cases of resiliency: Exploring experiences of refugee women participating in U.S. textile and apparel nonprofit organizations’ skills training programs.
Humanitarian crises around the world have forced thousands of refugees away from their native lands to neighboring countries on their own continent and as far as Europe and the United States, in search of safe harbor (UNHCR, 2017) and a better life (Igielnik & Krogstad, 2017). Refugees resettled in the United States, need to become self-sufficient within 18 months of arrival (U.S. Department of State, 2017). With the re-birth of manufacturing in the northwest region of the United States, local textile and apparel nonprofit organizations set-up community-based sewing programs that provided skills-building and job training opportunities to refugees resettled in the region that match the needs of the local labor market, which is essential to their economic integration (Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, 2008). ... Therefore, the aim of this study was to gain in-depth understanding of the career transition experiences of women with refugee backgrounds within the context of textile and apparel NPOs in the United States by exploring what motivated them to participate in the training programs and attain training outcomes. Using a multiple case study approach, participant observations, direct observations and in-depth interviews were conducted at five textile and apparel NPO training sites. Fourteen graduate and current trainees as well as 10 training providers in each textile and apparel NPO who were knowledgeable about the organization’s structure, vision and mission were interviewed. The data analysis uncovered nine emergent themes that represented factors that facilitated or hindered the motivation of trainees to participate in career transition programs and attain training outcomes.