African & American Friendship Association for Cooperation and Development (AAFACD), Inc., obtained its’ 501 (3) (c) non-profit status in 2003. It was initially funded by the New American Collaborative (NAC) and the Department of Labor (DOL), who specifically funded the the Employment Development & Training Opportunities (EDTO) Program, commencing its’ employment and social services.
Yearly grants from Headwaters Foundation for Justice, since 2006, have also helped to build the capacity of AAFACD and its staff in community organizing and effective project implementation. Over the past five years, AAFACD in collaboration with St. Paul Workforce Center and WISE, Inc. and other organizations implemented the following programs: the EDTO; Youth Getting Ahead in Leadership; Financial Literacy for Immigrants/Refugee; Empowering New Americans with Disabilities to Lead; and Foreign Trained Healthcare Professional (FTHP) for Licensure.
The FTHP program started with a Needs Assessment Research that brought together 25 identified FTHPs into four focus groups and by 2009 over 200 FTHPs have registered with the program; 52 are in different stages in the licensure process and are actively advocating for system and policy changes in healthcare institutions and appropriate employment agencies. The FTHPs’ program participants, mainly doctors and nurses, experience challenges in obtaining jobs in their areas of professions upon their arrival into the USA. Most are victims of wars and economic hardship, resulting to a large influx of immigrants/refugees into the Twin Cities and metro areas in the last twenty years. 80% of these people end up at entry level, low-paying jobs with poor or no job security jobs.