July 4, 2014

About Us

“Leadership and learning is indispensable to each other.”
John F. Kennedy

Lao Youth Leaders is a non-profit organization focused on developing leadership skills and providing academic resources for the youth of the Lao community.

Lao Youth Leaders is a direct service program developed by the Lao American Organization of Elgin, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It was created in 2006.

Education is the foundation of success. The major goal of Lao Youth Leaders is to increase the number of college graduates from the Lao community. According to a PEW Research study, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” young adults (ages 25-32 yrs old) with a college degree earned $45,500 yearly in 2012. Adults that have high school degrees earned $28,000 in 2012. Similar statistical research from the US Bureau of Labor also show higher earnings for adults with college degrees and graduate degrees.

For the Lao community, graduating from college is not typical. Data from the 2010 US Census show only 14% of Lao adults with college degrees in the Chicago area. About 82% of Lao adults graduate from high school.  

  • 48% of the population 5 years and older have limited English proficiency
  • Only 14% of Lao Americans have college degrees
  • Among Asian American ethnic groups in Chicago, Lao Americans ($19,10) have the lowest per capita income
  • 43% of Lao Americans work in manufacturing (blue collar jobs)
  • 75% of Lao Americans are home owners

Lao Youth Leaders was created to reverse this trend and build a foundation for the Lao community that promotes the benefits of higher education. Our goal is to support the youth in their academic goals by developing leadership skills that will prepare them to fulfill their potential.


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