|Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development News Release|
|Monday, October 3, 2005
|News Media Contact
Governor Jim Doyle announced today the receipt of a $500,000 grant to provide Hmong, Somali and other refugees job skills training and English language instruction, designed to facilitate access to employment, success in the workplace and progress toward reaching self sufficiency.
“In the past 12 months, more than 2,500 Hmong refugees have arrived in Wisconsin, and this latest grant will help sustain our successful refugee resettlement programs that have been a model to the nation,” Governor Doyle said.
Nearly two years ago, the U.S. Department of State alerted Wisconsin to a new wave of Hmong refugees from Laos and current estimates are that as many as 3,200 will arrive from the Wat Tham Krabok camp in Thailand. Since July of last year, 2,555 Hmong have come to Wisconsin.
“We have been very aggressive in securing federal aid to help make sure that the latest wave of Hmong refugees does well in Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said.
The Governor said that with the latest grant from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, Wisconsin has received nearly $2 million since last July. These funds are in addition to $1 million in Wisconsin Works (W-2) funds that the Governor made available to local W-2 agencies in July of last year.
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman said the grant will fund a training and employment program with Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) component. Refugees will receive basic employment and language instruction necessary to succeed in the workforce and become part of their communities quickly and successfully.
“Our dedicated staff and local partners are working hard to meet the needs of Hmong refugees, and we are seeing results,” Secretary Gassman said. She said programs serving all refugees show that nearly 900 refugees statewide have obtained full-time jobs and 100 entered part-time jobs within the past year and a half. “The vast majority of them are Hmong,” she said.
Governor Doyle thanked Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl and Representatives Ron Kind and David Obey for their help in securing federal aid for refugee resettlement.
Since 1975, more than 47,000 Hmong refugees have made Wisconsin their home. Wisconsin’s Hmong residents today have the highest median family income and homeownership rates of all Hmong resettling in America.
Content Contact: Rose Lynch