Clockwise from left: The new Hazleton LaunchBox serves as a venue for educational programs designed to serve the Hispanic community; A bilingual workshop held at Lackawanna College helped determine integration initiative priorities; First place winners of the high-school fall entrepreneurship program Pitch Contest, Jaquira Morales (center) and Jamile Nader (right), with Krista Schneider, Executive Director of the Alliance and program instructor.
During the past two decades the City of Hazleton, with a population of 25,000, has transitioned to a majority-minority community with the highest rate of increase in Hispanic immigration in the state (less than 5% in 2000 to nearly 60% today).
The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress recognizes that the success of its revitalization initiatives depends upon the Hispanic community’s ability to effectively integrate itself into the city’s business, civic, and entrepreneural culture by acquiring financial literacy and improving communication and leadership skills.
In 2019 the Alliance, with funding support from private donors via the PA DCED Neighborhood Partnership tax credit program, initiated two new education programs in partnership with the Hazleton Launchbox and CAN BE to help achieve these objectives.
These include a high school summer and afterschool entrepreneurship program targeted towards Hispanic youth, as well as a Community on the Rise program designed to teach small business owners how to integrate their business within and beyond the community, and adopt a culture of community service as a responsibility of citizenship and business success.