Minnesota Literacy Council receives federal grant for citizenship education program


The Minnesota Literacy Council received one of seven grants from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to support citizenship education. The literacy council will use the $430,000 in funding over the next two years to increase capacity for programs providing citizenship services in the Minneapolis, Rochester and Southwest regions of Minnesota.

The Twin Cities are home to the largest urban concentration of Somalis outside of Mogadishu, Somalia, and the state has one of the largest populations of Hmong in the nation. Increasing numbers of immigrants and refugees are also living in smaller Minnesota towns. About 13,000 foreign-born residents live in the Rochester metro area and nearly 16,000 live in the Southwest region of the state.

 “By supporting the integration of those on the path to citizenship, we are able to send a welcoming message to those who aspire to become U.S. citizens,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. About 50 organizations applied for the capacity-building grant. The Minnesota Literacy Council and six other organizations – all of which happen to be headquartered on the East Coast – received the award to improve and expand citizenship services.

The grant will allow the literacy council to provide citizenship education support for three sites in the state: Lincoln Adult Basic Education/Institute for New Americans, Rochester Adult and Family Literacy Programs and Southwest Adult Basic Education. Each of these programs will, at minimum, double the number of foreign born people they serve each year thanks to the extra help with program development, technical assistance and organizational planning.