As the economy worsens and unemployment continues to climb, many African American and African immigrant families are feeling the pinch. But, help is on the way.
This is the motivation behind the African Career, Education & Resource (ACER) fair. The second annual event takes place on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at the North View Junior High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The ACER fair attempts to mitigate the challenges new and historic minorities face in obtaining access to information and resources to improve their wellbeing. The fair provides a “one-stop” approach for members of the community to learn about a variety of resources and services in an efficient and culturally-appropriate manner. The ACER fair also offers an opportunity for both sides – institutions and minority communities – to share information, get feedback, network, and build stronger relationships.
At this family-friendly event, attendees will meet and engage with representatives from: several K-12 schools; colleges and universities; fortune 500 companies; health and social service organizations; and various other resources. The ACER fair is free and open to the public.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13 percent of Minnesota’s foreign-born residents, approximately 200,000, are from Africa – a higher percentage than any other state. Yet, minorities experience a lower level of access to social services, educational, and employment resources than other groups due to cultural, linguistic, and racial barriers even though they strengthen Minnesota’s economy through tax payments, entrepreneurship, and consumption. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the jobless rate fell from 10.0 percent to 9.7 percent in January, but increased to 16.5 percent for blacks, nearly double the national average.
The ACER fair is a volunteer-driven initiative to serve the black community by providing a variety of culturally-relevant resources and services in a single location. Sponsors include Osseo Area Schools (ISD 279) and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
For more information visit www.acerfair.org.
About Wynfred Russell
Wynfred Russell is a former faculty of the Department of African American & African Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where for six years he taught African history and culture. He has also taught African history and multicultural education at North Hennepin Community College and Century College. Russell is currently the Director of Normandale Community College's Center for Multicultural Services.