Our Communities

Vietnamese Social Services is a direct service organization, serving low income families, welcoming newly arrived immigrant and refugees, and supporting youth, adults, and seniors on their journey as new Americans. On average we reach 12,000+ program participants. Most are Vietnamese (50%), Karen (40%) refugees and immigrants. The remaining group (10%) is composed of Burmese, Somali, and Laotian. All are residents of the 7-county metro area.

Our Programs

English Language Learner

ELL/Adult Basic Education is the key to a successful transition for immigrants and refugees. Most of our Karen’s clients are unable to read or write and have never held a job or attended school. Annually, this program serves 202 numbers of students, each of whom would have had at least 153 hours in ELL for a total of about 30,422 hours of ELL. The ESL classes are tailored to fit individual needs and can accommodate individuals with various skill levels including those who know no English, as well as those that possess Basic English skills and would like to become more fluent. The focus of our ELL is on daily interaction as well as job-skills based English learning.

Health Program

The Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota provides a variety of health services to refugees and immigrants that face the risk of poor health due to language barriers, economic factors, inexperience with American culture and limited access to mainstream health facilities. Services include health classes, health literature, and assistance in accessing health insurance and mental health and social adjustment. Our Health Program seeks to improve the health of our clients by creating access to equitable healthcare, education and prevention. Our activities include referrals to low-cost health and dental care services, cancer and diabetes screening, nutrition education, smoking cessation, drug and alcohol addiction treatment, domestic abuse assistance, and mental health services. MNsure has been a key partner and support of VSS health program.

Employment and Self-Sufficiency (ESS)

ESS complements the ELL program to help refugees and immigrants prepare for and obtain employment. It includes vocational training programs, job placement, and intensive case management. The “Bridge to Future” and “I Can Work” projects are implemented in partnership with the Carpenter Training Institute, Radisson Blu, and others key employers. In addition, these programs are infused with basic human rights and labor law information to ensure that our clients know the laws, job skills, interview skills and learn what to do when faced with discrimination or unfair treatment due to their status as new Americans.

Elder Program

Our Elder Program seeks to improve the well-being of refugee elders. VSS provides one-on-one support to access health and social support resources. We also provide recreational and social opportunities to decrease the isolation and depression that many refugee elders experience due to their diminished social status as new Americans without English.

Civic Engagement

The goal of VSS’ Civic Engagement is to encourage new Americans to get involved in their communities as active participants. VSS has been engaging our communities in voter registration. With our partners, we also provide leadership and civic engagement training to community members. In 2019, we registered more than 250 on voter registrations, four GOTV focus groups, obtained 800+ pledges for Census 2020.

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