Help Wanted: Getting NY's Workers the Language Skills They Need

Monday, November 26, 2007

Immigrants make up a crucial component of New York's workforce, but the supply of programs to teach English is not keeping up with the demand. Tara Colton, associate research director at Center for an Urban Future, Kevin Smith, Executive Director of Literacy New York, and Martha Lopez-Hanratty, Director, Westchester County Office for Hispanic Affairs, look at the effects of the shortfall, and what steps can be taken to address it.


Tara Colton, Martha Lopez-Hanratty and Kevin Smith

Comments [4]


If I were a Mexican immigrant to NYC I would not immediately see the benefit of a doctor who spoke English in addition to the language we had in common.

In fact the high number of non-English speaking immigrants would presumably create a high demand for professional services, including health services, media, legal, banking, etc. -- all of which feature top jobs that can be conducted without needing a single word of English.

Nov. 26 2007 04:00 PM
Pastor Ezequiel Herrera from 320 Walnut St. Yonkers, NY 10701

Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church located at 320 Walnut St. Yonkers, NY 10701; has been providing ESL Classes for the community since 2002.
We have an "open-door policy". It's a program free of charge,with well qualified ESL teachers.
Since we are called and committed to serve the community, we take very serious the separation of our Church and our ESL program.

Nov. 26 2007 11:10 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I don't think this argument that "Everyone wants to learn English" is really enough to just dismiss the possibly retarding effect of bilingual services. I want to learn French someday... and it will probably always be someday because I don't NEED to learn French.

I'm not saying that we should trash bilingual services because I don't think leaving people in the dark when they need immediate help with the argument "Well, six months from now, you won't be as screwed as you are right now" isn't right. But I'd like someone to admit that there's a risk of people becoming dependent on bilingual services.

Nov. 26 2007 10:58 AM
Ana from Summit, NJ

I came to the US when I was 12 and was thrown into a classroom in which classes were given 100% in English. I got a 37 on my first test and in a few months I was able to increase my grades and communicate. I am glad that it is different now...imagine learning to swim by being thrown into the water with no help at all. That's how it felt back then, the year was 1983.

Nov. 26 2007 10:53 AM

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