DHS to issue grants helping ‘New Americans’ work in long-term care facilities

State government defines a "New American" as "an individual born abroad and the individual’s children, irrespective of immigration status."

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is offering grants to help "New Americans" staff long-term care facilities across the state. (Shutterstock)

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is offering grants to help “New Americans” staff long-term care facilities across the state. State government defines a “New American” as “an individual born abroad and the individual’s children, irrespective of immigration status.”

As such, people who entered the United States illegally could eventually become authorized to take care of vulnerable, elderly, and disabled Minnesotans.

According to a March press release from DHS, the State of Minnesota has begun offering grants “to organizations to support new Americans to get and keep jobs and grow careers in long-term care.”

In May of 2023, Gov. Tim Walz and Democratic majorities in Minnesota’s state legislature authorized the creation of the grant program to help “New Americans” join the long-term care workforce. Specifically, the grants will be issued to organizations that will help new Americans:

“(1) in seeking or maintaining legal or citizenship status to legally obtain or retain employment in any field or industry; or (2) to provide specialized services and supports to new Americans to enter the long-term care workforce.”

The same month the grant program was authorized, state government also permanently established a state agency called the “Office of New Americans.”

Now a part of state law, the Office of New Americans (ONA) fosters “immigrant and refugee inclusion through an intentional process to improve economic mobility, enhance civic participation, and improve receiving communities’ openness to immigrants and refugees.”

According to the agency’s website, the ONA is “focused on coordinating state government efforts to bring together New Americans, employers, local governments, nonprofits and other partners to create the welcoming communities we all want and engage all Minnesotans more fully in a successful state economy.”

The Minnesota Legislature appropriated hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to fund the Office of New Americans. The ONA will be required to submit an annual report to the Minnesota Legislature on its activities. However, the first report will not be available until Jan. 15, 2025.

Furthermore, state law allows the Office of New Americans to “encourage the development of new municipal and county offices dedicated to immigrant and refugee inclusion.”

According to DHS, the grants helping so-called new Americans “connect” with a long-term care career will be announced “later this year.”

Specifically, the aforementioned grants will reportedly go to “organizations that can connect new Americans with employment, help them navigate language and cultural barriers, and provide supportive services like training and licensing.” Additionally, the grants are designed to “simplify the path to long-term care careers for people born outside the U.S. regardless of their immigration status.”

“We’re grateful the Legislature and Governor Walz created this tool to help new Americans while addressing one of our major workforce challenges,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead regarding the grants.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.