Earlier this year, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) announced Challenge.gov partnership opportunities during our National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout. The Challenge invited individuals and organizations to submit their ideas for potential partnerships with the Initiative that would help improve the quality of life for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). We received many innovative proposals from across the country that addressed various issues affecting the AAPI community, from education to health to economic development.
The Initiative is excited to announce five partnerships that arose from the Challenge:
1) Filipino American Chambers Capacity Building Project
WHIAAPI is partnering with the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia and New Jersey to design a “boot camp” for small business owners. This boot camp will feature both private-sector and federal agency partners to deliver training, technical assistance, and key resources for AAPI businesses. The effort will pilot a tailored and culturally specific approach to the AAPI business community that can hopefully be scaled to other regions across the country.
2) Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Public Health Capacity Building Webinar Series
WHIAAPI and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) will partner to co-host a series of capacity building webinars on topics related to organizational infrastructure and core public health competencies for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander serving community based organizations (CBOs). Topics may include leveraging federal funding opportunities; eliminating health disparities; public health policy assessment and development; and supporting CBO systems, procedures, and leadership/management infrastructure to effectively conduct evidence‐based public health program strategies. These webinars will be tailored to the unique strengths, challenges, cultures, and contexts experienced by these organizations.
3) Empowering AAPIs Through Community-Supported Agriculture
The Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA) will work with WHIAAPI to raise awareness about the unmet nutritional needs of the AAPI community as well as aid AAPI farmers through an innovative community-supported agriculture program. In addition, APIOPA and WHIAAPI will work to address the linguistic and cultural barriers that might hinder these groups from accessing federal programs, and empower them to play an active role in voicing and addressing the needs of their community.
4) Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers STEM Conference
WHIAAPI and the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) are planning a week-long event in February to promote STEM fields to underserved AAPI populations. This event will consist of regional SASE chapters reaching out to underserved AAPI high school schools students to host day-long activities at universities and colleges to help acclimate high school students to the collegiate STEM experience.
5) National NHPI Education Awareness Campaign
WHIAAPI and Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) will partner on a national Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) education campaign on the importance of higher education. For the NHPI population, education is a central source of empowerment and the key to improving outcomes in health, economic development, immigration, and civic engagement. In fact, studies show only 18 percent of the 1.2 million NHPIs in the United States hold a bachelor's degree, compared to 28 percent of the total population. This project will include a webinar series and culminate in the first-ever National Pacific Islander Leadership and Education Conference in summer 2015. The conference will introduce NHPI college students to employment opportunities within the federal government, facilitate cultural sharing and learning between NHPI students and federal agencies, and build a national cross-campus network of supportive peers.
WHIAAPI looks forward to making progress on these partnerships in the upcoming months and creating exciting new opportunities for the AAPI community.
Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.