LVMH, Parsons Link Up With Chinese-American Planning Council

New program aims to address the need for luxury retailers in the U.S. to better serve the growing segment of shoppers visiting from China.

NEW YORK — Addressing the need for luxury retailers in the U.S. to better serve the growing segment of shoppers visiting from China, as well as boosting the career advancements of Chinese-Americans, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is joining forces with Parsons The New School for Design and the Chinese-American Planning Council to launch a new program.

This story first appeared in the December 12, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

LVMH Fundamentals in Luxury Retail: A CPC/Parsons Collaboration is a new education program that seeks to train Chinese-Americans, including recent immigrants and ones from underprivileged families, to ready them for employment opportunities in the luxury retail sector.

The program also has partial funding from The Robin Hood Foundation, which seeks to keep New Yorkers out of poverty via innovative initiatives.

Included in the 10-week program are classroom sessions at Parsons led by the school’s professors, LVMH managers and training professionals, as well as an internship in one of LVMH’s retail stores.

The students will learn about such topics as fashion history, consumer trends and retail operations, communications and teamwork skills.

The recruitment process, through the CPC, starts now with courses set to kick off in March. English and Mandarin-speaking Chinese-Americans with a high school diploma who are currently unemployed or working at low wages are eligible to apply.

Two more sessions are planned later on next year.

“Our aim is to help job-seekers seize opportunities in the luxury retail business,” Chantal Gaemperle, LVMH’s group executive vice president, human resources and synergies, said. “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.

“This project also addresses a specific need among luxury retail stores to best serve their Chinese-speaking customers,” she added, “while boosting career advancement opportunities for the community in New York City.”

The CPC has worked on “connecting new immigrants to new challenges and opportunities” since 1965, noted its executive director David Chen, who expects the new program to “bring unprecedented results in creating new career paths for the many untapped talents in the Chinese-American community.”