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Refugee training program is about more than just jobs

We Made This is a job training program for Refugees that's about more than employment

Sewing machines hum away as Tin Tin Pyone gently guides her pupils through beginner instructions. She's a teacher at We Made This, a refugee job training program.

"Yeah, it's hard," she said.

The eight women in the room are learning to make totes, wallets, purses and other products that We Made This sells online and at farmer's markets.

It's a program Pyone went through herself after leaving Burma a decade ago.

"When we first came in United States - so hard," Pyone said. "Now it's a little easier."

We Made This isn't just about job training, though. The women get English classes twice a week, they do art therapy, and they get citizenship training, too.

"The goal of the program as a whole is to make sure we're giving every refugee who comes and makes a new life in America the skill-set that they need," Hannah McMillen said.

She's the program lead for We Made This.

The beginners class is 12 weeks long. At the end, the women get a sewing machine of their own to take home. They can earn a living making stuff for We Made This, or working for employers We Made This contracts with throughout Denver.

"We want to help them be empowered to do those things," McMillen said.

Many of the women don't have communities to lean on in Colorado when they arrive, but McMillen said it doesn't take long for the students here to form their own.

"They build a community with each other to support one another so quickly," she said.