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Michigan program to help more immigrants learn English, contribute to economy

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“Estás en problemas si no puedes hablar el idioma.” 

If you can read that you certainly grasp the meaning. It translates to, “You are in trouble if you cannot speak the language.”

It’s a reality for many immigrants. With that in mind, the Michigan Office for New Americans (MONA) awarded grants to five primary organizations representing a collaboration of multiple partners for innovative adult English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.

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Three are in Detroit. They are:

The organizations received one-year grants with a maximum of $50,000 each. The program runs throughout 2017. The target audience is New Americans with limited English proficiency, including Green cardholders, refugees, and those seeking asylum. The program is not for temporary visitors or non-immigrants on temporary status in the U.S.

These grants will support collaborative work among nontraditional partners in the delivery of innovative ESL programming that is better able to meet the varied needs of Michigan’s diverse immigrant community.

MONA’s mission is to help grow Michigan’s economy by attracting global talent to the state and promoting the skills, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit of our immigrant communities.

“Winning proposals demonstrated creative learning platforms, especially self-paced and skill-based learning that will address key challenges of the current lack of classes that target vocational English as a second language for otherwise work-ready individuals, and ESL preparatory classes for exams required for some professional licenses and most higher education institutions,” says MONA Director Bing Goei. “We want to address the challenges that LEP workers face in finding employment, or obtaining licensing and contributing to Michigan’s economy.”

The goal of the grants is to bring English proficiency to those who live in geographical areas with a high concentration of immigrants who were previously underserved for ESL. No applications were considered that sought funding for only existing ESL programming.

Click here for a list of English as Second Language providers.

“As a welcoming state for New Americans, we know and value their contributions toward strengthening our economy, building our workforce, creating jobs, and revitalizing our communities,” says Gov. Rick Snyder. “We want to capitalize on diverse perspectives, cultures and talents for knowledge, creativity and innovation.”

The other two organizations receiving grants were:

This is not only be a chance to help people new to the country become successful, it is a chance to make a more cohesive America, Michigan, and Detroit for everyone.

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