Bridges to Opportunity: Workforce Development for English Language Learners

Resource Links

A major goal of this conference is to share the lessons we have learned about workforce development for English Language Learners. The resources below present some of these lessons. Please help us by sending us any others that you know of. We can make them available to others via the conference website.

Wising Up: How Government Can Partner with Business to Increase Skills and Advance Low-wage Workers. Amy-Ellen Duke, Karin Martinson, Julie Strawn. Center for Law and Social Policy. April 2006
http: 2006.pdf

One of the painful realities about immigrants in the workforce is their high level of participation in the labor force, while still remaining at or below poverty level. This useful report from CLASP identifies programs around the country that have worked with employers in various sectors to develop both jobs that offer adequate wages, benefits and the possibility of career advancement as well as incumbent training programs that help workers advance. A number of the programs have a specific focus on English Language Learners. We hope to hear from at least one of these programs at the Conference.

The Language of Opportunity: Expanding Employment Prospects for Adults with Limited English Proficiency. Heide Wrigley, Elise Richer, Karen Martinson, Hitomi Kubo and Julie Strawn. August 2003

This very comprehensive report outlines what needs to be done to support adult English Language Learners in developing employable skills and training. The recommendations address the range of issues from classroom instruction to program design and the systemic. Heide will be the keynote speaker at the Conference, so this report will be useful background reading.

Getting to Work: A Report on How Workers with Limited English Skills Can Prepare for Good Jobs. AFL-CIO Working for America Institute. May 2004.

The report looks at how adult English Language Learners can be prepared to work in four industry sectors: Hospitality, Manufacturing, Healthcare and Construction. All four offer jobs with career ladders and adequate starting salaries. The eight programs reviewed are run by unions with or without employer partnership. The report outlines important elements in the design of good training programs that integrate English language learning with training, but does not purport to demonstrate best practices in the field. It calls for more extensive research that can help identify these.

Creating Opportunities for a Stronger Economy through Language and Career Pathways, Erin Brown.

This article reports on Washington State's 3-year long pilot program called I-BEST: Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training which supported 10 pilot programs at community colleges across the state to integrate ABE or ESOL with job training programs. Based on the success of the pilot programs, the State has developed a funding initiative to provide the resources for community colleges to start such programs. The article cites some of the successful models. We hope to have a representative from Washington State report tell us more about this exciting venture as part of the panel on Program Design.