POSTED: January 2nd, 2013 • Latest News

Every evening between 5 and 9 p.m. the New American Academy on the border of Edina and Eden Prairie comes to life with more energy, dreams and goals than can be easily contained within this industrial office space.

Somali students, aged kindergarten through high school, and their parents, attend classes on the English language and citizenship. A new addition this year is training to be an entrepreneur. These East Africans have made starting new businesses to support their families and community a focus as they establish themselves in their new society.

Asad Aliweyd, founder and executive director of the New American Academy, was awarded a $30,000 community engagement grant by the Corridors of Opportunity initiative to help him engage the Somali community in planning for new businesses, jobs, and housing along the Southwest light rail corridor.

“The Golden Triangle light rail stop in Eden Prairie will be key to many opportunities for our Somali community, linking us to the southwest, downtown Minneapolis, and the University where many of our children attend school,” said Aliweyd.

“In order to succeed, we need to have good education for our children,” he said. “We need affordable housing. We would like to build equity and assets through home ownership. We want to grow our job opportunities and we need reliable transportation.”

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