Challenges of finding a summer job

Transcripts available in the following languages:

I want you to know, first of all, being outside was not easy. As long as I was on the campus, things were fine. When summer vacation came, it was time for me to get out and do some work and earn some money.

So Tom and I went up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I could not get jobs. Incidentally, I want to back up and tell you that at Dakota Wesleyan, in the evening, when I was in Mitchell, South Dakota, I attended a course on welding at some school, and I learned how to weld. And the reason I learned arc welding is that, in my spring vacation, I wanted to go out and get a job as a welder, which brings me up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I went up there, Tom and I, and there’s a company up there by the name of Harnischfeger. It’s still there. They were building tanks and so forth—military equipment. They gave me a test for welding, and I passed because I had trained in that. But when they heard that I was a Japanese, when the personnel manager found that out, they refused to hire me.

Date: August 27, 1998
Location: Pennsylvania, US
Interviewer: Darcie Iki, Mitchell Maki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

discrimination racism

Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

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