Hmong American Partnership (HAP) hosted the grand opening of its newly renovated HAP Academy OIC Employment Training Center at 240 Plato Boulevard East, in St. Paul, on November 12.
HAP Academy OIC will provide innovative career and job training in high-demand industries to help fill the gap in Minnesota’s workforce. According to estimates by Minnesota Compass, the state is projected to fall 239,000 workers short of the 3.2 million workers the state will need by 2022 to keep pace with rapid rates of economic growth. Experts have called upon the state to increase training and job placement for historically underemployed groups such as youth, people of color, migrants, and immigrants.
HAP Academy OIC will help fill the state’s employment gap by training participants in customer service, education, health care, human services, information technology, financial services, manufacturing, transportation, and more. Training will be held at the 240 Plato and another site at 150 Sycamore Street that is scheduled to open at the end of the year. In addition to training facilities, HAP Academy OIC co-locates with the high school component of a Hmong K-12 Charter School, the Community School of Excellence (CSE), and houses HAP’s Hmoob Toj Siab Children’s House, the first Hmong Montessori Preschool for children ages 33 months to 6 years.
CSE High School students will have the opportunity to choose a career pathway in a high-demand, high-wage sector and pursue technical and soft skills training, certification, and credentialing to ensure better career prospects upon graduation. This model is patterned after IBM’s nationwide P-TECH school model, which creates a seamless 6-year program to ensure more children successfully attain post-secondary degrees and certifications along with better access to employment opportunities. The MN legislature recognized the need to streamline education in this way, especially for communities of color, and passed P-TECH provisions into law last year.
The November 12 grand opening event featured presentations from current high school and Montessori students, along with remarks from elected officials and community leaders. Guests were invited to stay for lunch and then take a tour of the facility. Employer partners and college and university partners were also present to network with job seekers and community stakeholders.
HAP is a nonprofit social service and community development organization that addresses the needs of more than 25,000 immigrants and refugees across the Twin Cities. They provide support through culturally sensitive programs in five key impact areas: Workforce Development, Economic and Community Development, Children and Family Services, Health and Wellness, and Social Enterprises. Visit them at www.hmong.org.
HAP is also an affiliate of OIC of America, a national network of organizations that help people of all races and backgrounds become productive, more fulfilled members of society. Through this affiliation, they leverage technical assistance and a proven program model to more effectively fulfill their mission.