Welcome Center adds new staff

Published 1:33 am Sunday, November 5, 2017

Austin’s Welcome Center has announced the addition of new staff members who will help address the needs of the community’s diversity.

According to a news release, an African Social Service program has been added, along with its coordinator, Herve Idjidina.

Idjidina, who was hired in September, will help meet an increased need for more French speakers to help new citizens receive services.

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The program will provide information on services regarding housing, health care, education, employment, public assistance, language support, hunger and other community resources.

Originally from Benin, a French-speaking country in West Africa beside Nigeria and Togo, Idjidina moved to the U.S. three years ago. He holds a bachelor’s degree from National University of Benin in business management and speaks French, English, Fon, Goun and some Mina.

He said his family “had a pretty tough start in the United States because we didn’t know anything about the different kind of help and services we could get from organizations such as the Welcome Center and many others. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to help new comers in Austin for a smooth transition and an effective and efficient integration in our beautiful and diversified community of Austin. I am very excited to join the Welcome Center staff and contribute in making Austin a great place to live in.”


Rain Suereh also joined the staff in September. He will work in the Refugee Employment Services position that helps people admitted to the United States as refugees look for work soon after arriving.

Suereh was born in Thailand and moved to the U.S.  with his family in 2009. He has lived in Austin for more than six years. An Austin High School graduate, he is currently studying at Riverland Community College. He speaks the Karenni language and is happy to join the Welcome Center to help community members.

“I lived in a refugee camp for almost my entire childhood and clearly understand how difficult it is to resettle in a new place. I am here for anybody new in our community who reaches out help.”

Welcome Center Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 2000, continues its mission to provide a place to welcome new neighbors in their transition into the community. As the community has evolved over the last 17 years, so has the center. The diverse staff now speaks a combined 10 languages and through their wide network of interpreters can provide interpreter services in more than 20 languages throughout the community.

MnSure Open Enrollment

Welcome Center, Inc. assists with MNSURE application forms for health coverage during an annual enrollment period. Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 14, 2018.

Director Solomon Paul asks if information is needed, to contact him at 507-434-2863 or email at director@austinwelcomecenter.org.