ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a nondescript one-story industrial building surrounded by a neighborhood of engine repair and body shops, rows of seamstresses lean into their industrial sewing machines and cut and stitch fabrics for West Elm, New York’s Canvas Home, and other retailers.
This little factory, called Southwest Creations Collaborative, provides not only stable employment in a state where nearly a third of jobs pay at or below the poverty level. It’s also helping its workers’ children overcome the longer-than-average odds in Albuquerque that they will graduate from high school and go on to college.
“We joke that the people who work here are simultaneously grateful and that they’re also thinking, ‘Wow, you guys are really in our business,’” said Jessica Aranda, director of the collaborative’s Hacia la Universidad, or “To the University,” program. “What other employer asks you to bring in your children’s grades?” READ MORE>>