The Hmong American Partnership (HAP) now has a fully-updated public computer center that features high-speed Internet, free computer classes, and staff to help individuals who want to learn more about computers.
The addition of high-speed Internet along with new computer equipment and support services through the University of Minnesota Broadband Access Project (BAP) (http://www.bap.umn.edu/) has increased HAP’s abilities to meet its mission.
Founded in 1990, HAP (http://www.hmong.org/default.aspx) is one of the largest Hmong organizations in Minnesota. Its mission is to help Hmong families to assimilate into the American way of life, to develop knowledge and skills required to achieve educational and economic potential, while retaining their cultural identity. The computer center, while housed at HAP, is open to all city residents.
HAP has implemented employment readiness classes where it teaches participants how to interview for jobs, develop skills and habits to become better employees, life skills and financial literacy. They have found that many people don’t have familiarity with computers, so the updated computer center will provide them opportunities to develop additional skills.
HAP’s three centers-two in St Paul and one in Minneapolis-provide programs and services such as economic development and housing, employment services, educational training, youth and family services, and elderly services. The computer center is located at HAP’s main location, 1075 Arcade St., St. Paul. The computer center hours there are Monday, 1-3 p.m.; Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
The BAP, envisioned as a service to bridge the digital divide for under-resourced sections of the Twin Cities, has created computer centers in four federally-designated poverty zones: north Minneapolis, south Minneapolis, southeast Minneapolis, and St. Paul. The community groups in these areas are typically African American, Latino, Native American, Somali, and Hmong.
The BAP is a $3.6M initiative of the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Office of Business Community and Economic Development, and the community-based Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (http://multiculturallife.org/). The initiative established two new computer centers and upgraded nine existing ones.
The BAP centers not only provide access to computers and software, but also increased data transfer speeds of up to 22 megabits per second (Mbps).
Through its community centers, the BAP provides broadband (high-speed Internet) awareness training, promotion of education, workforce preparation, health care information, and community revitalization. The BAP has hired and trained apprentices or technicians, who in turn provide training and assistance in computer literacy, technical training, job search, and resume building at these centers.
HAP’s community programs also include elder services which provides adult daycare services and Independent living skills in support of refugee elders, ages 60 or older, at their location on the Eastside of St. Paul.
These services help elders meet their daily living needs: making and keeping medical and other appointments, translation assistance, housing and benefits assistance and home visits. This helps build strong, supportive relationships in their new community.
HAP locations and contacts: Arcade Office (Main): 1075 Arcade Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106
Tel: 651-495-9160. Fax: 651-495-1699. University Office: 379 University Ave W. #204, Saint Paul, MN 55103. Tel: 651-291-1811. Fax: 651-291-8139. North Minneapolis Office: 1206 42nd Ave N., Minneapolis, MN 55412. Tel: 612-377-6482. Fax: 612-377-4633. Or visit http://www.hmong.org/contact_us.aspx