Boston, December 8, 2023 – As leader of Greater Boston’s ESOL system, and statewide convener across adult education and workforce development sectors, ENB, in partnership with the MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, invited ESOL and ABE providers and other community leaders across the state who are working with new arrivals to a Statewide Convening on Providing English Language Learning Opportunities to Newly Arrived Migrants. Prior to the convening, ENB conducted a survey that yielded responses from 163 individuals across 99 organizations.
ENB received responses from nearly every Workforce region of the state, including immigrant & refugee rights advocates, faith-based organizations, state agencies, and ESOL/immigrant services providers, community colleges, funders, and many more who are providing or interested in offering English classes for new migrants.
Panelists included Ronnie Millar of the MA Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), who shared that the state’s shelter system is overflowing with well over 7,500 families. He spoke about collecting data from shelter sites, including demographics to inform planning, and emphasized the need to accelerate work authorization.
Wyvonne Stevens-Carter, Director of Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) for the MA Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), emphasized the importance of “seeing people and listening to them.” She noted that DESE funded programs are eligible for free access to Burlington English, an online platform. Programs can also access USA Learns, free and helpful for those in unstable living situations.
During the convening, an online padlet activity was introduced to collect responses to two questions: “What do you need?” and “What coordination and info-sharing would be helpful?”. Some of the most outstanding responses were: teacher shortage, more convenings like this to share info, Burlington English, curriculum training, information on where ESOL seats are available, hot spots, childcare, creative transportation options, consistently updated website for teaching ESOL and resources, and the list continues.