LVMH and Parsons Establish Education Program for Chinese Americans

LVMH MoËt Hennessy Louis Vuitton has partnered with the Chinese-American Planning Council and Parsons The New School for Design to launch LVMH Fundamentals in Luxury Retail: A CPC/Parsons Collaboration, an education program designed to train and provide a wide range of retail skills to Chinese-Americans, including those from underprivileged families and individuals who have recently immigrated to the United States, to help them in gaining employment in luxury retailing.

The program has partial funding from The Robin Hood Foundation, New York's largest poverty-fighting organization.

The program will be approximately 10 weeks in duration, including classroom education at Parsons followed by an internship program working in a retail store of one of the LVMH Group brands. The classroom sessions will be led by Parsons professors, as well as LVMH managers and training professionals. Topics covered in the classes will range from fashion history and understanding consumer trends to retail operations, communications and teamwork skills.

The CPC has already starte recruiting students to participate in the first session. Application to the program is open to English and Mandarin-speaking members of the community, who are currently low-wage workers, under- or unemployed with a high school diploma or its equivalent and are passionate about fashion and retail. The first session will begin in March 2014, and two additional sessions are planned later in 2014.

Chantal Gaemperle, group executive vice president, human resources and synergies at LVMH, which conceived the concept for the education and training program, said, "We are thrilled to partner with the CPC and Parsons, with support from Robin Hood, to launch a unique training program for Chinese-Americans: our aim is to help job-seekers seize opportunities in the luxury retail business.

"The program's combined classroom and in-store training will develop talent with Mandarin-language skills, allowing the graduates to acquire the necessary basics as well as the confidence for a successful career within our demanding sector," Gaemperle continued. "This project also addresses a specific need among luxury retail stores to best serve their Chinese-speaking customers while boosting career advancement opportunities for the community in New York City."

David Chen, executive director of the CPC, said, "With close to five decades of experience in connecting new immigrants to new challenges and opportunities, CPC is confident that this joint effort by LVMH and Parsons will bring unprecedented results in creating new career paths for the many untapped talents in the Chinese-American community."

"At Parsons, we believe that design education and design thinking have broad application," Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons, said. "As designers and educators, we have a responsibility to think about the social and political aspects of our work. This program with the CPC and LVMH is a prime example of design world initiatives which have a real, positive impact."

Christine AuYeung, program officer of Robin Hood, added, "Keeping New Yorkers out of poverty is our central mission at Robin Hood, and to achieve that we are constantly seeking innovative programs that accomplish this goal and give people the skills they need to support themselves and their families.

"To that end, we are proud to join this endeavor with LVMH, the CPC and Parsons in establishing this unique project that provides training and on-the-job experience so as to increase the skills and career opportunities for one of New York City's largest immigrant communities," she concluded.
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