ST. PAUL, Minn. (April 23, 2019) — Hmong American Partnership (HAP) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its Youth Job Skills training program at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 25.
The event will be held at HAP’s new workforce center at 240 Plato Boulevard in St. Paul. Local legislators, policy makers, community members, students and families will be in attendance. Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker, Councilmembers Rebecca Noecker of St. Paul, Susan Pha of Brooklyn Park will be present along with Paul Weirtz, President of AT&T Minnesota for a check presentation of funding support of from AT&T Foundation.
HAP’s Plato Boulevard Workforce Center was gifted to HAP in 2016 to expand its workforce development training programs. It is one of two workforce center sites that will undergo renovations. In June 2018, Governor Dayton signed a bonding bill that included $5.5million dollars to support HAP’s workforce centers, which are slated to open in the Fall 2019.
The new 29,000 square foot building will house HAP’s Workforce Training programs in health care, manufacturing, information technology, hospitality and business administration. AT&T Foundation has been a long-time supporter of HAP’s employment and training program. Support from the foundation will provide 100 youth ages 16-24, from low income, Southeast Asian and communities of color, in career exploration, occupational training, and life skills at the center.
“The fastest growing population in Minnesota is the Southeast Asians, with the Hmong as the largest demographic. Of this, over 50% of the Hmong are under the age of 24 years,” said Bao Vang, president and CEO of HAP. “This is the future workforce of Minnesota. It is not only timely but critical that Minnesota pays attention to cultivating and directing resources to support Hmong and other Southeast Asian youth.”
The Plato Workforce Center will also house HAP’s Montessori Children House Hmoob Toj Siab servicing children 33 months to 6 years. The Community School of Excellence (CSE), a K-12 Hmong Charter school, will co-locate its high school at the site to serve 250 Hmong, Karen, and Karenni high school students. CSE students will participate in HAP’s career exploration, jobs training, and college readiness classes at the site. Families, students, and jobs training participants will receive wrap around social services support.####
HAP is a nonprofit community-based social services organization whose mission is: to empower the community to embrace the strengths of our cultures while achieving our potential. HAP provides critical services and support to more than 25,000 community members annually.For more information about HAP and its programs, please visit www.hmong.org.