Nation / World
Sports / Outdoors


Business Directory
Advertising Rates

About Us
Site Search

Advanced Search

home : community : community Friday, May 24, 2019

5/8/2017 3:47:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Hmong Cultural Center To Expand Adult Basic Education Program

By Mark Pfeifer

In addition to its long-running cultural programming, the Hmong Cultural Center has offered English as a Second Language and Citizenship classes for years as part of its Adult Basic Education program. Now that program is expanding to include occupational English classes.

Last year the Hmong Cultural Center received a Southeast Asian Equity grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The grant aims to improve economic opportunities in the Southeast Asian community. As part of this effort, the Hmong Cultural Center will offer occupational English classes designed to help Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees overcome language barriers and improve employability.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015 the unemployment rate for the Hmong population in Minnesota was 10.7 percent compared to 4.2 percent for the general population, and the Hmong community experienced poverty at over twice the rate of the general population. Jordan Lapka, an occupational English teacher at the Hmong Cultural Center, emphasized the role that language skills play in finding employment.

"In my experience teaching refugees I've found that for most students the main motivation in enrolling in ESL classes is to find employment," Lapka said. "An ESL class that caters specifically to finding a job will prove invaluable to our refugee community."

The occupational English classes at the Hmong Cultural Center focus on the vocabulary and communication skills necessary for the high-demand professions of Home Health Aides and Housekeeping and Custodial Workers. The classes also focus on workplace communication and job search and interview skills.

"The classes will combine the most useful parts of job training with the vital parts of an ESL class to prepare students for a work environment, while simultaneously developing the language skills necessary for everyday life in an English speaking country," Lapka said.

In addition to occupational English classes, students enrolled in the program at the Hmong Cultural Center will work with a career counselor who will assist them in the job search process. Hmong Cultural Center is partnering with local employers and other community employment organizations to connect students with employment opportunities.

"We are dedicated to seeing our students succeed in the US by fostering a sense of empowerment and competency that is essential to new Americans seeking employment," Lapka said.

St. Paul, MN



2005-2016 HMONG TIMES, All rights reserved
PO Box 192, Prescott, WI 54021
 Software © 1998-2019 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved