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Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Ofelia R Arellano, Pasadena Area Consortium

Enhancing English Literacy Skills for Spanish-Speaking Immigrant Workers

  • Type of Practice: Partnerships & Collaboration
  • Targeted Population: English Language Learners, Citizenship Students, Vocational Certificate Students
  • Program Area(s): English as a Second Language & Citizenship
  • Consortia Involved:
    Pasadena Area Consortium: Pasadena Area Community College District, Pasadena Unified School District

The Challenge

Immigrants and their children are expected to account for almost all of the nation's future labor force growth, so that by 2030, nearly one out of five workers will be an immigrant. For this fast-growing segment of the population, resources and policies are needed to support economic growth, educational attainment, college completion, and career enhancement.

Nearly 36 percent of Los Angeles County residents are foreign born and 54 percent speak English less than very well, compared to 40 percent statewide. Thirty-three percent of adults in Los Angeles County lack basic "prose literacy". For example, they cannot read and understand a newspaper compared to 23 percent statewide.

The Solution

Curricula was developed through the AB 86 grant in the areas of English for the Written Driver's Test, Spanish Literacy for Native Spanish Speakers, and Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) in Green Construction, Green Housekeeping, Green Landscaping, Healthcare and Childcare.

Effective fall 2015, VESL Green Construction and VESL Green Housekeeping programs will be offered at the NDLON Pasadena Community Job Center specifically to day laborers. The goal of these programs is to provide day laborers the opportunity to acquire key language and workplace readiness skills needed to become gainfully employed as a construction worker or housekeeper. Of equal importance, this will also lead to job advancement and higher wage


Day laborers will gain integrated and contextualized workforce skills in a classroom environment that will transfer to the workplace.

Individuals who successfully complete the VESL programs in Green Construction and Green Housekeeping will earn a Certificate of Competency. This will serve as major milestone in their lives in terms of completing a certificate from a California Community College.

Hopefully, this will serve as an educational pathway into other noncredit programs.

The Data

Pasadena City College and NDLON will monitor and track day laborers in terms of how successful completion of these programs provided job opportunities, job advancement and/or higher wages.

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