HAP was presented on February 24th with a $95,000 contribution from AT&T to support the organization’s YouthLEAD program. – The program helps to create career pathways for low-income Hmong and Southeast Asian youth / young adults.
“We know too many Hmong teens drop out of high school, especially those from low-income families,” said Bao Vang, president and CEO of the HAP. “Through the YouthLEAD program, we are committed to helping these youth by offering career counseling, soft skills training and support to continue their education and prepare for the workforce. We are excited for AT&T’s continued support.”
The AT&T donation will help HAP serve 100 youth through its YouthLEAD program. The program offers career counseling and soft skills training (resume building, job search and career exploration) for Southeast Asian youth and young adults who have disengaged from the education system.
Program activities include occupational training with service-learning activities, coaching and mentoring from industry experts, individualized career guidance and planning, and soft skills training.
Through collaborations with the Finishing Trades Institute and American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), participants are also offered entry level course credits or certification in a field. They then move through orientation, industry-skills based education, and paid work experience in a Construction, Information Technology, or Health track. The goal is to increase the number of low-income youth and young adults successfully entering and advancing their employment skills within an in-demand occupation that pays livable wages.
“The HAP is doing great work to help provide career pathways for Southeast Asian youth and young adults in the Twin Cities,” said Paul Weirtz, president of AT&T Minnesota. “We are proud to support their successful YouthLEAD program to help prepare Hmong youth for future success in the workforce.”
The YouthLEAD program has had strong results. Ninety five percent of participants attained basic skills, work readiness and/or occupational skills; 84% attained their secondary school diploma or the equivalent; and 85.5% were placed in and/or stayed enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution, the military, employment, and/or qualified apprenticeship opportunities.
“We are very fortunate to have an organization like the Hmong American Partnership dedicated to helping Southeast Asian youth succeed academically or in the workforce,” said State Senator Foung Hawj. “It is great to see companies like AT&T supporting these initiatives.”
The YouthLEAD program also connects youth with positive role models to boost self-esteem and confidence through mentoring.
“Through mentoring, the YouthLEAD program is helping Hmong teens understand the importance of academics and introducing them to opportunities for higher education and employment,” said State Rep. Tim Mahoney. “This is a fantastic program that is helping students improve academic performance and prepare for the workforce.”