Washington, D.C.: The business sector and the U.S. economy has benefited greatly from legal immigrant workers. In 2005, the foreign-born population accounted for nearly 15% of the total U.S. civilian workforce. However, many immigrant workers arrive in the United States with limited knowledge of English.
CLINIC has launched the Worker Integration and Naturalization (WIN) Project to promote immigrant integration by increasing access to English and citizenship classes in the workplace. In our work with immigrant organizations and other community-based organizations, we have seen the growing need for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and citizenship programs that help immigrants naturalize, said Laura Burdick, project coordinator of CLINIC's Citizenship & Immigrant Integration Project.
Foreign-born workers need assistance to learn English, develop relevant vocational skills, and integrate into the businesses and communities where they work by becoming U.S. citizens. The WIN Project expands the availability of resources for organizations and businesses alike. The WIN Project provides seed money to refugee resettlement organizations, selected by CLINIC, to establish a workplace ESL program.
CLINIC will provide the selected organizations with a module on how to create a workplace ESL program, resources, and training. The organization will also receive grant funding to hire an ESL instructor. The organization will be responsible for selecting employers that would participate in the workplace ESL program. "Providing education and encouraging citizenship is a way for businesses with immigrant employees to invest in the wider community and promote civic engagement. We also hope that the WIN Project can serve as a model for other ESL workplace classes and provide potential areas for partnership on ESL programs," said Burdick.
CLINIC will partner with two national experts on English as Second Language and refugee employment: the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning and Refugee Works. The WIN Project is funded by New Horizons Fund.