Manufacturing Job Fair Planned for African Immigrants
One lesson learned during the pandemic is don’t underestimate the influence of community.
Mobile clinics helped underserved populations get access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and getting the message out through community leaders did too.
Initiatves like offering a vaccine clinic at a Brooklyn Center Mosque during Ramadan proved to be a successful outreach.
“Because we were working with so many different African immigrant groups to do vaccines and you know you have trusted people in community, sponsoring it, it really said, what’s next?” said Hennepin Co. Commissioner Jeff Lunde.
Lunde and community groups have the answer to that question. On Oct. 23, they will host a manufacturing career fair targeted to African immigrants.
Lunde believes establishing a career in manufacturing could give some families a leg up.
“What manufacturing really does, is it gives people a ladder. When they start climbing, they are going up, they are building wealth. So many manufacturers have told me, if I get people who want to learn and work, then I can train them,” said Lunde. “We’re excited to have that conversation because we need to build wealth, and wealth happens when you get into a career that invests in you.”
Huldah Hiltsley with Mwanyagetinge says many African immigrants gravitate toward entry-level healthcare professions, simply because they know someone in the profession.
“From the African Immigrant Community, if you look at the majority of the population and the careers, it’s in healthcare,” Hiltsley. “My next-door neighbor, who is an African immigrant like myself is doing healthcare, that’s what I’m going to do as well, whether or not that’s my passion.”
A job fair could expose African immigrants to more possibility and more opportunity, while manufacturers find another pipeline to bring in the workers they need.
“If somebody can come along and say here’s an opportunity where you can provide for your family without going to two jobs, without working 16-20 hours per day, without all of this stuff and still get better pay, better benefits and op to grow, then why not?” said Hiltsley.