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A Special Report: Jobs : CHINATOWN : Viet Refugees Turn to the Print Industry

July 11, 1993|IRIS YOKOI

For nearly a decade, hundreds of job-seeking Vietnamese refugees have found a haven in the Unified Vietnamese Community Council.

The social service agency was founded to provide low-cost medical care, counseling, youth programs and other assistance to Vietnamese and other Indochinese immigrants so they can adapt to life in Los Angeles. But the council's employment training program, begun in 1984, has been the most successful, judging by the job placement rate of 100% last year.

The council's extensive pre-employment training includes English as a Second Language and tips on interviewing and filling out applications, as well as actual hands-on training in offset printing.

A small print shop set up in the council's offices at 709 N. Hill St. provides trainees with experience in operating the machinery, and field trips to other printing businesses offer further education, according to Them K. Tran, the council's executive director.

The agency chose the printing industry because the training is easy to provide in a short period of time and because of the many printing jobs available in the Vietnamese-American community, Tran said. There are 45 Vietnamese newspapers in Los Angeles and Orange counties alone, Tran said.

The 11-year-old agency has previously provided training in janitorial, building maintenance and landscaping occupations and may offer those courses again depending on demand and funding, Tran said.

The agency receives an average of $220,000 annually from the county's Targeted Assistance Program, which aims to help refugees reach economic self-sufficiency. Program graduates are assisted in either finding a job or setting up their own businesses.

Information: (213) 680-1059 or 680-1060.

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