The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. programs are designed to help immigrants and refugees become economically self-sufficient and socially and civically engaged. Classes are offered free of charge, year-round to 900 or more students who range from those with little or no formal education to those with advanced degrees in their native languages.
The ILC staff determines the language needs and personal and educational goals of each student when they enroll. Students are placed into programs that best meet their individual needs, and counseling is provided to help them achieve their goals.
In addition to English skills, students gain leadership, problem solving, organizational and job skills. As students gain English proficiency, they achieve greater self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and the ability to contribute and participate in the community and workforce.
During the COVID-19 crisis, all classes are being held online. We plan to return to some in-person classes in the fall.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Levels One through Four
Individuals are placed in class levels that best reflect their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Classes are intensive with 10 to 15 hours of instruction every week, and instruction is given exclusively in English for a total immersion experience. Lessons are student-centered and designed to help them achieve their individual goals.
Next Steps Class
Learning English is the first step to success in the United States. The Next Steps class helps students with the highest levels of English proficiency prepare for the steps they’ll take when they leave The ILC. While they continue to improve their English, they concentrate on next steps such as job training, higher education, professional re-certification and job search skills.
The ILC’s Literacy Program is a ground-breaking model for educating people who may fall through the cracks in conventional ESOL classes. These are students who may have little or no education in their native language or who have additional learning challenges. In the Literacy Program, their individual needs and abilities are matched with smaller class sizes and individualized attention to give them their greatest chance of achieving their goals and giving back to society.
All students receive up to two hours a week of computer literacy instruction in the computer lab using computers and software donated by the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation. The students learn basic computer skills essential for today’s economy. They also receive English instruction through specialized software programs.
Becoming a U.S. citizen is a major milestone in the life of a new American. The process requires, among other things, learning a lot about U.S. history and civics. The Immigrant Learning Center offers free Citizenship Classes to anyone planning on taking the citizenship exam in the next 12 months. Students learn what to expect during the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, how to pass the exam and conversation skills to help pass the interview.
Senior Conversation Class
Older immigrants are often the most isolated and have the greatest difficulty adjusting to life in a new country. The ILC Senior Conversation Class is the only opportunity for some of these 60-and-older students with very limited English skills to practice speaking English. By learning to speak English, they gain the skills and confidence to do things many native English speakers take for granted: going to the store, taking public transportation, seeing a doctor or talking to a neighbor.
Immigrants who have school-age children need help navigating the U.S. education system. The family literacy coordinator conducts workshops on topics such as reading with preschoolers and the expectations the U.S. school system has of parents. Students find just the right book for themselves and their children in our lending library, and children are occasionally invited to visit The Immigrant Learning Center for story hour with their parents.
The ILC’s Family Literacy program is generously supported by the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation.
The ILC employs a guidance counselor and two education and career advisers. All students have access to support, counseling and referrals for continuing education, employment, physical and emotional well-being, and social services.