The Massachusetts Senate Ways & Means Committee has released its budget for fiscal year 2018 – increasing funding for many critical programs that serve immigrants and refugees despite the tight budget season. This includes a funding increase for citizenship and domestic violence prevention programs.
But we want to move the dial for one important program – and we need your help!
Senator Jamie Eldridge is filing an amendment today to increase funding for English language classes for adult learners, which has not seen an increase in real terms for many years, despite high unmet demand.
Please note that Sen. William N. Brownsberger and Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz have already signed on – no need to ask them – but you can always thank them for supporting immigrants and refugees in the Commonwealth.
Here is a description of the amendment:
Adult Basic Education/English for Speakers of Other Languages (ABE/ESOL), line item 7035-0002, sponsored by Senator Eldridge.
ABE/ESOL programs are positively linked to higher levels of economic success, employment, and wages. Although immigrants comprise nearly 19% of our workforce, and have higher rates of economic participation than native-born residents, much of this activity is confined to low-wage service industries. ESOL classes for adult learners are under-resourced and in short supply, with 18,000 waitlisted students. This amendment would increase funding for adult basic education programs to $31.5 million to promote workforce integration for New Americans and other adult students.