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Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.


English Language and Civics Education


Adult learners face many challenges in the 21st century. They are expected to balance education, work, and family responsibilities. This delicate balance is heightened with the changes brought on by welfare reform and the Workforce Investment Act of. To that, adult immigrants to the United States must also add the sometimes-daunting challenges of increasing English proficiency and preparing for the citizenship examination. 

According to the National Institute for Literacy, “nearly 32 million people in the United States speak languages other than English – a 38 percent increase over 1980.” This tremendous increase in U.S. immigration has generated a great demand for English language and citizenship preparation services.

And, many immigrants are in need of more than English language skills. Approximately 27 percent of adult learners enrolled in New York City’s ESOL classes are non-literate in their native language. Workers with little or no job skills must grapple with a shrinking low-skill labor market. Only 67 percent of immigrants over age 24 are high school graduates, let alone graduates of college or other specialized training.

Where, then, do providers start? As with any endeavor, it is necessary to start by defining the target population. Do the learners have high or low literacy skills in their native language? What is their proficiency with English? What is their level of work experience? What are their goals?
Answers to these questions will shape the content and delivery of instruction. Outcomes and methodology vary tremendously between an English speaking learner who seeks citizenship and an illiterate immigrant who needs to feed his or her family. 

The following resources will help both providers and learners prepare for English language literacy, jobs and careers, and citizenship.


Hudson River Center Products
Center for Applied Linguistics
Internet and Video Resources
America’s Story for America’s Library
Crossroads Café
National Reporting System for Adult Education
On Common Ground
Literacy Assistance Center
National Institute for Literacy


Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.