DUSSELDORF, Germany - Henkel is starting an extensive integration program for refugees at its vocational training center. In collaboration with external partners and public authorities, the company is offering career guidance and job shadowing as well as internships, language courses and coaching for the refugees. The aim is to promote the integration of people with prospects of staying in Germany permanently.

For this year, Henkel has provided the Fritz Henkel Foundation with an additional budget of €500,000 for refugee projects, on top of the ongoing product donations. “It is our joint responsibility to integrate the people who fled to us in both our society and economy,” said Kathrin Menges, Executive Vice President Human Resources at Henkel. “With our program, we want to create a perspective for these people, because education and access to the labor market are key success factors for integration. This is where we need to start.”

The integration program currently has 75 participants, mainly teenagers and young adults. It focuses on practical career guidance. The participants gain insights into the work environment through vocational internships. In addition, they receive targeted coaching, language courses and job application training. Collaborating external partners and public authorities choose the participants. “We support young people by helping them search for apprenticeships and during the following application process,” said Dr. Loert de Riese-Meyer, Head of Vocational Training at Henkel Germany. “Most of them are not familiar with our education system and are not aware of the options they have.”

Language is a prerequisite for successful integration. Therefore, the Fritz Henkel Foundation supports, among others, the Goethe Institute with a donation for language courses for refugees. With this support more than 8,000 teaching units can be offered. Henkel continues to provide un-bureaucratic emergency aid. The company equips refugee camps with Henkel cleaning products, detergents, shampoos, shower gels and toothpaste. Henkel also provides extra storage space and logistics. In addition, the company supports corporate volunteering of employees and retirees through product donations, financial support as well as paid time off work for up to eight days yearly.