LancasterThriving_Summer2017 - 40

COMMUNITY: BUSINESS & COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

DISCOVERING
HIDDEN TALENT

Contributions of
Immigrants in Lancaster
S
everal years ago, Tony Legenstein received an email
from friend and colleague Jim Dougherty, looking for
others to join him as a mentor for refugees.

"It intrigued me," said Legenstein, president of Certified
Carpet, "but I didn't do anything about it."

Not long after that, someone from Lutheran Refugee Services
in Lancaster reached out to Legenstein to ask him to consider
being a mentor, and this time he took the plunge and began
mentoring a doctor from Cuba. "His credentials meant
nothing here, and he had to start over," said Legenstein. "I
didn't think that was right." Legenstein's mentee went to
school to be a nurse, and eventually moved on to New York.
That was his introduction to refugees in Lancaster County.
In 2015, Dougherty came back to Legenstein with another
refugee he was mentoring at the time, and asked if Certified

40 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Spring/Summer2017

Carpet had some part-time work for him. Legenstein brought
Mohamed Suliman (known as Suli) onboard for some parttime work, and a short time later offered him a full-time
position in the area rug cleaning department.
"I liked him instantly and he was a good worker," Legenstein
said. "I was glad we (Certified Carpet) could help. I wish I
would have been introduced to it earlier."
The "it" he references is Church World Services (CWS) and
the system or network for hiring refugees. CWS Lancaster
is an organization that provides support and assistance to
refugees through a network of churches, organizations and
volunteers.
"We had been spinning our wheels trying to hire people,"
said Legenstein, sharing his frustration of doing hundreds
of interviews, only to have people not show up for work,


http://www.lancasterchamber.com/log.aspx?type=KWMB&rt=MEMB&url=www.certifiedcarpet.com http://www.lancasterchamber.com/log.aspx?type=KWMB&rt=MEMB&url=www.certifiedcarpet.com http://www.lcfsrefugees.blogs.com/ http://www.lancasterchamber.com/log.aspx?type=KWMB&rt=MEMB&url=www.cwslancaster.org

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