Schools receive grants to increase ‘global competence,’ accommodate refugee students

Dec 13, 2015 by

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Agencies working in schools across three states are receiving massive cash infusions to cater to local immigrant populations, courtesy of The Otto Bremer Trust’s “strategic philanthropy.”

The St. Paul-based nonprofit awarded 142 grants to local groups and school programs in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin totaling $8.4 million, the St. Cloud Times reports.

“More than $100,000 is going to groups helping immigrants with employment and supporting global competence in St. Cloud schools, a spokesperson announced Thursday,” according to the news site.

The Times points out that immigration is a tender issue in the school district as many immigrant students and parents have accused officials of ignoring discrimination and bullying against them. Debate over an expected influx of Syrian refugees has also factored in to the local climate.

The Otto Bremer Trust is doling out cash to ensure immigrants feel welcomed, supported and appreciated in the local community, while at the same time ensuring students acquire a “global competence.”

In St. Cloud, $80,000 is going to help refugees with language and employment training, and to support immigrant youth to achieve higher education. Another $30,000 was awarded to World Savvy, an education nonprofit that goes into schools to “build global competence in students, teachers and school leadership,” the Times reports.

Kelly Matter, CEO of RESOURCE Inc. – one of the grant recipients, told the site the group will work with high schools to offer help on resumes, mock interviews, college admissions and other training.

A list of The Otter Trust’s other grant recipients on its website includes extensive funding for the Immigrant Development Center in Moorhead, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota in St. Paul, and the Institute for New Americans in Minneapolis.

The group’s support seems to mirror Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s stance on the refugee crisis. Last month, Dayton suggested that dozens of governors who have vowed not to accept refugees from Syria are simply grandstanding.

“I think it’s showmanship on the part of these governors who pretend that they would be able to sanctify their borders so that only certain people can enter their state and other people can’t,” Dayton said, according to CNN. “I want to protect the people of Minnesota every bit as much as those governors want to be able to protect the people of their states. But to stand up there with swagger and say ‘Well, I’m going to prevent the wrong people from entering my state’ to me is just ludicrous.”

Dayton is unconcerned about potential terrorists mixing among those seeking asylum.

“These people have children in their arms, they’re fleeing terrorists in their respective countries like Syria,” Dayton said. “And they’re not a threat to anyone.”

Several locals in St. Cloud don’t seem to share The Otto Bremer Trust’s and Dayton’s enthusiasm for welcoming more immigrants to the area.

“You cannot reason with insanity. ISIS and its ilk are insane with hatred for the western world, particularly Caucasian American Christians. Their only goal is our death,” Laurel Yanish posted to Facebook. “Once you have a way of telling the Islamic terrorists apart from the peaceful Muslim community almost all of us will be happy to treat the peaceful ones with dignity and respect.

“Until that time, I’ll have to watch my back,” Yanish wrote.

Source: Schools receive grants to increase ‘global competence,’ accommodate refugee students |

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