The Welcome Center serves the city of Austin as the community's multicultural center, building community by welcoming newcomers, supporting residents in transition and creating access and opportunity.
Advocacy and Client Services
This program provided greatly needed translation and interpretation services that helped 815 immigrants and refugees connect to a myriad of resources including but not limited to housing, health, employment, childcare, education, financial services and more. Eighty percent (80%) of those served resolved their presenting issue.
College Access Program
Launched in January 2012, this program prepared 94 9th - 12th grade immigrant/refugee students for post-secondary education. Students were taken to the Univserity of St. Thomas, Art Institute of Minneapolis, St. Olaf College, Minnesota State University - Mankato, South Central College, Winona State University and Luther College. Six seniors applied for and got accepted into college. This program was funded in whole with money from the Great Lakes Foundation and Blandin Foundation.
Community Culutural Education
The Welcome Center promotes community building activities via cultural awareness presentations, trainings and cultural celebrations. In the past year we collaborated with other organizations and participated in the 1st Annual Taste of Nations event. This event showcased the diversity in Austin and Mower County by bringing people of diverse backgrounds to share their food(s), stories and performances. It was estimated that over 1,000 people attended the event.
Economic Self Sufficiency
Services offered through the economic self-sufficiency program are designed to help newcomers acquire new job skills, increase their familiarity with American financial systems, establish their own businesses, and move into permanent housing. Last year the Welcome Center provided over 1,000 contact hours of interpreting and translating services. Newcomers are looking for good paying jobs and often need information and better skills to get them. We work with the Workforce Development Center and other skill development organizations on non-traditional programs and settings that will assist the new workforce to develop their potential through tutoring, mentoring and training.
Our complete 2009 - 2010 Fiscal Year report can be found below.