March 21, 2023

~User-friendly Hmong, Somali and Spanish videos aim to make UI application process more accessible~ 

ST.PAUL (Dec. 28, 2016) — A first-ever partnership between the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and ECHO, a Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) program designed to address the information needs of Minnesota’s non-English speaking populations, will make applying for Unemployment Insurance benefits more accessible.

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program wanted to serve diverse populations better. Anxiety about applying for Unemployment Insurance benefits can run high, especially among first-time applicants. DEED also wanted to develop culturally and linguistically relevant educational content to promote self-service UI application systems.   

To help meet these goals, the UI program worked with TPT to produce videos in Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

UI staff worked in partnership with TPT to develop video scripts, storyboards and videos so information is culturally relevant and reaches more Minnesotans.

TPT/ECHO also facilitated community review sessions with local speakers that resulted in appropriate translated content and changes to the videos, including adding words and using proper accents that are familiar to non-English speaking Minnesotans.

“These videos are part of our ongoing work to make information about DEED services more accessible to every Minnesotan,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Our partnership with TPT and ECHO helped us develop technical skills and community engagement strategies that we can use to improve Unemployment Insurance services for years to come.”

“It was a pleasure working with DEED on this project,” says TPT Managing Director of Minnesota Productions & Partnerships Elizabeth Allen. “The type of work that DEED is doing is exactly the work that we at ECHO and TPT are trying to support. Partnerships like these are instrumental in truly serving Minnesota’s non-English speaking population. We are excited that these UI videos will provide DEED’s diverse customers the information they need to make important UI decisions.”

The three videos on applying for Unemployment Insurance are available on the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance website at

In addition to the videos, updates to written content for non-English speaking applicants is available at

Resources include:

  • Videos describing how to apply for benefits
  • The How to Apply handout
  • The applicant handbook
  • A series of frequently asked questions, including: Should I apply? When should I apply? How can I find out if I am eligible? What do I need to apply? How do I apply? What happens after I apply? How will I get paid?

The content above is available in Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

Unemployment Insurance has a wide variety of print materials, online services, and an interactive voice response self-service phone system in Hmong, Somali and Spanish. UI also offers interpreters in over 100 other languages through a partnership with the AT&T Language Line.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at Follow us on Twitter at

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