Impact and Programs
KOM serves over 1,500 refugees each year in one or more of its core program areas. KOM has developed a strong history of support in providing workforce readiness skills, vocational training and job placement to more than 200 people per year. In addition, KOM addressed a variety of self-sufficiency needs for more than 1,000 refugees annually in social services. This includes housing and immigration services; food support; case management for family support; services to elders; and MNsure navigation. Further, KOM has successfully provided community health workshops to meet the needs of refugees in areas such as: mental health, parenting, alcohol and drug use and tobacco cessation. These workshops helped refugees gain a better understanding of their health and how to sustain a healthy lifestyle physically and emotionally. KOM's youth program continues to service academic support, leadership development, and cultural activities for more than 150 Karen youth in grades 6-12 in Saint Paul Public Schools. The youth programs have helped to ease resettlement for youth and increased a positive identity of self during the cultural adjustment. KOM's second office in Marshall, Minnesota that opened in 2014 has provided support for 50-100 people annually. These individuals received strong support and resources in employment and social services. In addition to programs, KOM staffs hold over 2,000 hours of walk-in appointments per year to help refugees with urgent and complex needs not met by other service providers. Without these services, refugees would be unable to access needed resources, putting their family’s stability at risk.
Through this fiscal year, KOM's Social Services program supports refugees within their 5 years in the U.S. to achieve self-sufficiency through the following outcomes: (1) Refugees find and maintain stable housing; (2) Refugees relocating in MN from other states access basic needs support; (3) Refugees achieve independence in using transportation; (4) Refugees have ongoing connections to child care, health care, crisis intervention and community programs; (5) refugees adjust their immigration status (accredited immigration services provided by arrive ministries. Under the Refugee Employment Services Program, KOM continues to partner with CAPI USA and Bhutanese Community Organization of MN to provide workforce readiness skills and job placements for refugees within their first 5 years of arrival. Since 2015, KOM has expanded its employment services programs to include vocational training for manufacturing, health, and human services careers. Collectively, KOM aims to serve 325 participants in employment services, with at least 80 earning credentials and 245 entering employment. For the Youth Services funded under the Refugee Student Impact Grant, KOM is partnering with St. Paul Public Schools to support 152 refugee youth to achieve: (1) refugee students improve academic achievements; (2) refugee students acquire and practice leadership skills; (3) refugee students have enhanced emotional wellbeing and parent/family relationships; (4) parent increase involvement and support in school activities.
Community or Constituency Served
The Karen Organization of Minnesota serves all refugees from Burma in Minnesota regardless of religion or ethnicity. These refugees are individuals or families in need of further support throughout resettlement. KOM also serves a small number of participants from other populations based on funder-prescribed eligibility requirements, including East and West African, Southeast Asian, and Latinx individuals. KOM empowers participants to achieve their goals and to thrive in Minnesota by connecting them to employment opportunities, to access high-quality education and health education.
Geographic Area Served
We serve all areas in Minnesota, primarily Ramsey County. KOM’s second office, located in Marshall, serves all refugees living in Marshall, Minnesota.