Finding Refuge in a New Career

The International Rescue Committee was founded in 1933 and offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees displaced by war, persecution, or natural disaster – including the 85,000 refugees the United States plans to resettle this year. Over the past seven years, Chipotle has partnered with the International Rescue Committee, or the IRC, to support their mission in numerous ways – extending job offers to refugees across the nation, hosting workshops to help refugees build business skills, and providing grant money to back new programs.

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Since 2009, Chipotle has hired over one hundred refugees in partnership with the IRC. Employment advisors at the IRC work with these refugees to evaluate how their skillset and personality align with companies’ culture and values. As a result, applicants sent by the IRC are seven times more likely to be qualified and hired – which is good business for both the candidate and Chipotle.

Charly Ngoma is a great example of the impact this partnership can have. When Charly arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from the Congo, he had never eaten a burrito. Eighteen months later, he is now a General Manager at one of our restaurants. Read more about Charly’s story here.


“Everything I saw my first day was new. I didn’t know even the name of the ingredients they use in English. I was just writing down everything. … I’m not feeling anymore like a refugee. I’m feeling like I’m living my life.”

– Charly, General Manager at Chipotle


Chipotle offers refugees like Charly more than just a job. With our commitment to training and promoting from within (check out our career path here), and discounted English as a Second Language programs through our new educational assistance program, we are committed to providing tools for professional and personal development.

In addition to growing refugees’ careers in our restaurants, Chipotle has also partnered with the IRC to support efforts such as the New Roots and MicroProducer Academy programs, equipping refugee farmers with the agricultural skills needed to adapt to an urban American environment and marketplace. These programs unite Chipotle and the IRC in their shared values of cultivating a better world through sustainable agriculture and promoting healthy, affordable foods. Since 2013, the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation has contributed over $715,000 to these efforts, impacting refugees across the country.

Want to learn more about the programs and foundations discussed in this post? Check out these sites on the International Rescue Committee and Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

Top image: Somali Bantu spokeswoman Sitey Mbere at a New Roots Farm Raising event. (Photo: International Rescue Committee, https://www.rescue.org/)