Cities often struggle with two distinct but related problems: Revitalizing neighborhoods and employing immigrants. Minneapolis-St. Paul has found a way to do both.
Since 1993, the Neighborhood Development Center has provided training and $11 million in loans to immigrant and minority entrepreneurs.
Every Tuesday for 10 weeks, the students came from Hopkins or nearby the west metro suburb to meet at the Eisenhower Community Center for the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative Plan It! Entrepreneur Training Program. It was the prospect of the new Southwest Corridor LRT line passing nearby that spurred Anne Beuch of the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative to reach out to Neighborhood Development Center so potential entrepreneurs could benefit from the traffic, expansion and commerce that train lines bring to a community.
Join Damien Cave and Todd Heisler as they travel up Interstate 35, from Laredo, Tex., to Duluth, Minn., chronicling how the middle of America is being changed by immigration. Follow their journey here and on Twitter by searching #thewaynorth.
Frank Dogbe gives most of his new employees from West Africa a one-year promise.
Dogbe, founder and owner of SOS Building Services, a business that cleans commercial and office buildings, hires immigrants fresh from Africa and gives them one year to show him that they’re well on their way to learning English or that they’re working toward their GED.
“I want them to be inspired by my journey. I say to them: ‘I started out like you when I came to this country, even worse. I didn’t have someone who spoke my language and was there to push me.’” Read more.