Education is one of the most important steps on the path to self-sufficiency, helping people get jobs that provide livable wages. For 35 million adults in the U.S., English is a second language, which can create barriers to education, employment and higher wages.
$24,000: The estimated wage gap between native speakers and non-native speakers with otherwise identical skill sets.
Catholic Charities of Boston’s El Centro adult education program provides six levels of English classes, from beginner to advanced, helping prepare students for higher education and to enter the workforce. The program offers English language learner classes in addition to math, financial literacy and computer skills and focuses on developing students’ critical thinking skills.
At the onset of the COVID-19 health crisis, El Centro was the first ESOL program in the state to go fully remote and we are proud to have maintained a high student retention rate during the switch to virtual classes.
Access to technology was a significant barrier for many of our students in continuing their classes online. Thanks to our generous partners at Tech Goes Home, we were able to secure about 100 Chrome Books for students and are working on getting additional computers for students beginning classes this month. Working closely with our Basic Needs department, we were also able to get some students internet access, which will also help them beyond their time in El Centro classes.
At the onset of the pandemic, teachers’ focus shifted to supporting students through this truly unprecedented time by assisting with unemployment applications, job applications and access to community services. For non-native English speakers, navigating the changing guidelines surrounding the pandemic can be difficult, so our staff focused on keeping them informed, connected, and providing them with the resources they needed.
As we embark on a new semester, our teachers are now focused on teaching our students well virtually. We are fully enrolled for this spring semester, which is truly a testament to the dedication of our students toward bettering their futures.
We’re proud of the flexibility, resiliency and dedication of our teachers, students and volunteers. We look forward to educating almost 200 students in the coming months and working with them as they prepare to enter college, vocational training programs and the workforce, while supporting them with other resources as needed to ensure their success both now and in the future.
For more information on adult education, please visit https://ccab.org/education or call 617-522-4040 x 611