Addressing the needs of English language learners

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A New Jersey college brings English as a Second Language courses to the community

Atlantic Cape Community College is staying true to its commitment to community outreach. The college has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City to offer English as a Second Language classes for club parents.

“As a community partner in Atlantic City, Atlantic Cape takes seriously its commitment to improving the lives of the residents by providing affordable educational experiences and career advancement opportunities,” Atlantic Cape President Barbara Gaba said in a release. “This parent ESL program not only helps to address the needs of English language learners in the city, who make up a third of the population, but also addresses the needs of local businesses, by building up a strong and capable workforce.”

The work is supported by a $9,500 grant from Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

The workshop has been taught by Atlantic Cape’s ESL credit professors. The first cohort of 15 parents began on Nov. 16.

“We are working to build a two-generation approach to services, providing opportunities for education, workforce development and supportive services to our Club Parents, as well as our Club Kids,” said Stephanie Koch, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.

The weekly class is held at the Boys & Girls Club’s Chelsea site. For many of the families served at that site, Spanish is the primary language spoken in the home.

“To ensure our services are inclusive and accessible, the Boys & Girls Club employs a high number of bilingual staff members at the Chelsea site to support these families,” Koch said. “We have found that our families want to learn English so they can support their children in their educational pathways, being able to communicate with their teachers and schools; and also, so they have a wider array of job opportunities available to them in Atlantic City.”

The final class for this cohort was Dec. 14 and participants were recognized with a ceremony.

Atlantic Cape will continue to offer these workshops in the community throughout the spring semester at other community-based locations.


AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.