Learn About Us

The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, MA, is a not-for-profit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways:

  • The English Language Program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members.
  • The Public Education Institute informs Americans about immigrants and immigration in the United States.
  • The Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants.

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The Immigrant Learning Center building



Diane Portnoy opened The Immigrant Learning Center on November 9, 1992, with three teachers, 60 students and 80 on the waitlist.


Received first grant from MA Dept. of Education. Used funds to expand from three to four levels of English classes. The ILC continues to receive government grants, totaling roughly 25 percent of the annual budget.


Started first citizenship class and created first computer lab.


Held ribbon cutting ceremony on April 5, 2002, to commemorate placing The Immigrant Learning Center’s name on the building and the growth of the first 10 years from three classrooms to three full floors of English education.


Formed the Immigrant Theater Class where students learn to express themselves in English by writing and performing plays.

Launched the Public Education Program to educate Americans that immigrants are assets to the country (renamed Public Education Institute in 2010).


Launched the Literacy Program to address the needs of students with literacy challenges.


Established the Senior Conversation Class for students aged 60 and above who may otherwise be socially isolated.


Expanded to the fourth floor. Now occupying four out of five floors at 442 Main Street.


Co-sponsored the first, annual Swearing-In Ceremony for new American citizens with the City of Malden.


The ILC Public Education Institute held its first online workshop for educators. The Institute now produces multiple webinars per year for multiple audiences reaching up to 1,000 people at a time.

Partnered with George Mason University to create the Institute for Immigration Research.

Held first, annual The ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Dinner.

Launched Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Debuted book, Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts.


Added an ESOL Literacy Citizenship Class for students applying for citizenship without strong English skills.


Piloted the English for Entrepreneurs Class.


Added Next Steps Class to focus on helping students reach education and job goals.

Modernized computer lab with grant from The Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation.


Renamed The ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards as the Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards.


Served more than 10,500 students to date from 188 countries and 89 Greater Boston communities.

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