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Asian American Dream
Asian American Dream
Asian American Dream
Founded in May 2021, the mission of the Asian American Dream (AAD) is to provide mentorship networks, professional development training, and career advancement opportunities for underserved Pan Asian American (includes East, South and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander) undergraduates, with the goal of helping them achieve their unique vision of the Asian American dream. Our guiding vision (North Star) is a world where all underserved Pan Asian American undergraduates are aware of and have access to mentorship networks, professional development training, and career advancement opportunities to achieve their unique vision of the Asian American dream. Our core organizational values, from an internal and external standpoint, are community and kinship. We aim to empower underserved Pan Asian American undergraduates to realize and achieve their unique vision of the Asian American dream, one that accounts for their lived experiences, career aspirations, and Pan Asian American heritage. Through AAD programing, we seek to dismantle the model minority myth, break the bamboo ceiling, and provide holistic training for underserved Pan Asian American undergraduates so that they may be well-equipped to excel in the workforce. With 2023 being our first year as a full-time nonprofit organization, we attribute our current operations and programming curriculum with the analogy of “building the plane as we’re flying it”. However, we are fully aligned as an organization to support, uplift, and empower the next generation of Pan Asian American leaders. This unified commitment to AAD’s students, guiding mission, strategy, and long-term vision is our Asian American dream.
About the Organization:
$100,000 - $500,000
AAD was founded because there was no other organization in existence that provided underserved (first-generation college attendee, low-income, FAFSA-eligible, non-target school) Pan Asian American undergraduates with mentorship networks, professional development training, and career advancement opportunities prior to entering the workforce. Additionally, organizations that did offer these programs did not include Pan Asian Americans in their mission statements as a target demographic. With over 1 million Pan Asian American undergraduates in the U.S., these students need support as it relates to navigating their career trajectory, especially in their undergraduate years. Furthermore, we read nearly 4 in 10 students never used their college’s career services resources or visited the career services office according to a 2017 survey conducted by Gallup and Strada Education Network. We are not aiming to replace Career Development Centers; our goal is to supplement their programming. Why? Because it’s empowering for Pan Asian Americans to have access to an organization created and facilitated by Pan Asian Americans for Pan Asian Americans (quote from a student). Additionally, many companies do not include Pan Asian Americans in their diversity or talent acquisition initiatives because they don’t know, or acknowledge, that these students face significant barriers to economic opportunity. Many of these students are juggling part-time work, school, and extracurriculars, to support themselves and their families. They know how to persevere through adversity and can perform with limited networks, resources, and time. However, due to the model minority myth, there is a widespread misconception that all Pan Asian Americans are inherently well-connected, smart, and hard-working. This can be very problematic, especially for the next generation of Pan Asian American professionals. The Pew Research Center highlighted in 2018 that the top 10% of the income distribution earns 10.7x more than the bottom 10%. Furthermore, due to the model minority myth, Pan Asian Americans are consistently passed over for promotions, especially as it relates to upward mobility from middle management to the Executive level/C-suite. It is critical that we combat the model minority myth, address the glaring wealth disparity, and break the bamboo ceiling to advance underserved Pan Asian American undergraduates.
AAD facilitates 4 cornerstone programs to ensure underserved Pan Asian American undergraduates have a clear trajectory from college to a meaningful career with our partner employers: the Kin Mentorship Program, the Career Foundations Program, Virtual Career Fairs (VCFs), and the Networking Series. The Kin Mentorship Program is a comprehensive and impactful mentorship program that connects AAD students with early-career professionals that have “walked in students’ shoes” and share similar backgrounds. For mentees, there is a certain level of kinship and understanding inherent to receiving mentorship from early-career professionals that they can relate to. Additionally, mentees gain invaluable exposure to a variety of industries and insights into determining an actionable plan to achieve their career aspirations. Mentors become the older sibling they might’ve benefited from having in their lives during the early stages of their careers. The Career Foundations Program aims to provide holistic training for AAD students through 4 foundational pillars: Cultural Training, Professional Development, Industry Mentorship & Exposure, and the Classics (resume, cover letter, and interview). AAD VCFs are career advancement opportunities that provide AAD students with inroads to partner employers (e.g., Zimmer Biomet, National Grid, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America) across a variety of industries. From the employer standpoint, AAD VCFs serve as an efficient and effective way to gain access to our mentees and students. Through our VCFs, our long-term goal is to ensure AAD students can leverage the mentorship networks and apply the skills they’ve acquired through AAD curriculum, to identify and achieve a meaningful and sustainable career with our partner employers. The Networking Series seeks to provide AAD students with networking opportunities to learn and apply essential networking skills with experienced Pan Asian American Executives, ERG leaders, and talent acquisition representatives from partner companies and organizations. On May 22nd, we hosted our Night of Networking in Honor of AAPIHM which featured 5 partner companies (Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, JPMorgan Chase, National Grid, and RIMOWA) and over 100 students. In Q4 2023, we will be facilitating a Mental Health program, Kin Mastery Program (mentorship for current AAD mentors), and Financial Health Program.