Hmong-American Partnership loses funds

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

APPLETON - Khee Vang has been in the United States for five years, has a job, and is learning English.

Vang is one of many immigrants from Thailand who moved to the Fox Valley to start a new chapter in life. He got help from the Hmong-American Partnership.

"One of the more difficult things they helped (me) with was they helped him to apply for (my) resident card," Vang said through a translator.

With almost 5000 Hmong in the Fox Valley, the Hmong-American Partnership is now losing about a third of its Federal funding. The reason? They're good at what they do -- education and job placement. The organization estimates 95 percent of the Hmong population in the Fox Valley is employed. Hmong-American Partnership Executive Director Lo Lee says because the organization has helped so many people, the funding is being cut.

“That's why I believe we can't rely totally on the federal government, we have to do something," said Lee

"That's that double edged sword,” said Jennifer Gaines Bates, Hmong-American Partnership Coordinator of Youth Programs. “We definitely want people to become citizens, but once you cross over that line, you have to look at funding in other areas.

The organization is looking to raise money itself and through businesses matching funds. The large number of Hmong willing to work can help area businesses.

"As the economic turn down ceases, employers will increasingly turn to our growing number of minority populations," said Joyce Bytof, CEO of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group.

Vang still says he has a long way to go, but is happy he made the move to the U.S.

"(I’m) glad (my) children are here in the United States because here they'll have a chance to pursue education," said Vang


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