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Hmong Professionals empower employees and students

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Hmong Professionals Employee Involvement Group at NWTC
Hmong Professionals Employee Involvement Group at NWTC

Formed in the fall of 2019, Hmong Professionals (HP) is an Employee Involvement Group at NWTC. The organization originated from a shared passion – desiring to create a common space for support and networking around equity and a sense of belonging.  

We’ve always recognized that while there are about 17 full-time Hmong professionals at the College, we were all disbursed across the various divisions. It was difficult to establish strong working relationships among ourselves. Some of us have worked at the College for many years and never had an opportunity to connect.  

Asian employees at the College make up 3.6% of the NWTC workforce compared to 90% of white employees. We are committed to developing a platform to build a culture of belonging that celebrates successes and advocates for growth and development through learning together.  

To achieve a culture of equity and a sense of belonging for Hmong professionals, we affirmed that an employee involvement group would empower our learning, develop our skills, and advance our growth together. Using our passion and purpose as the pillars of our work, HP has developed four key drivers that align with the College’s 2018-2023 Strategic Directions. These key drivers are networking, mentoring (employee to student/peer to peer), educational/professional development, and community outreach. 
We are proud to have developed the Hmong Resource Guide, a booklet that highlights all the different Hmong businesses and services in Brown County and beyond. This booklet is made available to all NWTC employees. Secondly, we are excited to announce our first $500 scholarship being awarded this fall to a program student! Our goal is to award one scholarship per semester. We encourage anyone interested in contributing toward this scholarship to connect with Pakou Thao or Xai Yang.
The Hmong Professionals are confident that our efforts and engagements will empower Hmong employees and students to lean on each other for support, develop, and grow together where authenticity and a sense of belonging become everyday culture norms at NWTC.
Last but certainly not least, HP pays tribute to Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage in the month of May by doing a book read together. Eleven of the HP members and allies are reading the book, Modern Jungles: A Hmong Refugee’s Childhood Story of Survival by Pao Lor. In our reading, we will reflect on the author’s lived experience as well as each of our own, especially for those individuals who came to the United States as refugees following the Vietnam War in 1975.

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