The Welcome Center, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt corporation founded in June 2000. It organized by a group of concerned citizens who saw a dramatic change in the area’s work force and demographic composition, mostly notably a growth among Hispanic people. Recognizing that the change could produce friction and divisiveness or be the basis for a new and inclusive culture, the founders developed the Welcome Center. With the primary financial support from the Hormel Foundation, and additional commitments of local government, businesses, United Way of Mower County, and other founders the Center began operations.

Our objectives are:

  • to provide a place to welcome our new neighbors.
  • to provide guidance and services to assist newcomers in their transition into the community.
  • to collaborate with agencies and organizations for a better way to address multicultural issues.
  • to provide community education for the native population to the economic and social value in developing a new multicultural community.
  • to develop program and services that open economic opportunities to newcomers.

Mission Statement

The Welcome Center serves the City of Austin as the community’s multi-cultural center, building community by welcoming newcomers, supporting residents in transition and creating access and opportunity.

Vision Statement

The Welcome Center envisions a vibrant and culturally diverse community where everyone is accepted, respected and independent.

Who We Are

The Welcome Center is a non-profit organization based in Austin, Minnesota. Our agency works with all members of the community to promote the successful integration of newcomers. Community education projects serve to familiarize current residents with the characteristics of the newcomer populations and to promote acceptance. Other programs promote self-sufficiency and help newcomers make a successful transition to their new environment. We have appointed Board of Directors who jointly oversee the activities of the organization and professional staff members who facilitate the work of the organization.

What We Do

The Welcome Center provides services for newcomers, agencies, and the community through four programs:

  • Community Cultural Education serves to familiarize current residents with the strengths and characteristics of newcomer populations and to promote acceptance. Education is offered through presentations and workshops at various locations including area nonprofit organizations, businesses, and schools. The Welcome Center is also a core organizer for the annual Taste of Nations event in Austin that celebrates all members of the community.
  • Advocacy & Client Services connects clients with necessary community resources to address medical, social, community, legal, financial, educational, and other needs. Services include a brief assessment of immediate needs followed by advice and assistance in obtaining the resources to meet those needs.
  • Economic Self-Sufficiency programming helps newcomers acquire the skills necessary to secure gainful employment, manage finances, and become homeowners. Staff work in partnership with other community programs to offer classes and workshops on financial literacy, job skills, and other topics.
  • Personal Care Shelf: People often take for granted such basic things, like soap and shampoo, and don’t realize just how necessary these items are to not only our health, but to our well being, as well. Individuals faced with an emergency situation are welcome to utilize the shelf twice per lifetime.
  • Karen/Burmese Family Support serves to provide our Karen/Burmese population with transitional, social and emotional support. The Karen Family Support Advocate serves as the Karen/Burmese community liaison and case manager by meeting one-on-one with youth, parents, and families to help them assess their needs, matching and/or referring them to various community services and programs; organizing and overseeing several services and programs that are offered on-site, including youth, parent, and family support groups (parent and family skills training; family support services); and providing translating and interpretation services as needed.

Through this positive intervention we seek to empower individuals from under-served and under-represented populations living in poverty, to build assets, promote resiliency, develop self respect and independence, and become self-sufficient.