CCCC ESL program receives grant to expand computer literacy
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SANFORD - Central Carolina Community College's English as a Second Language (ESL) program has received funding from the North Carolina Community College System to extend computer literacy education to students across the college's target area of Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties. Funds in the amount of over $80,000 have been applied to the academic years 2013 through 2016 in response to ESL students' need to acquire basic computer skills that will enhance their success in the workplace and in further educational pursuits.
The ESL program applied for funding each year, receiving a total of $30,202 for 2013-2014, $28,800 for 2014-2015, and $28,000 for 2015-2016. The funds have been used to increase the number of ESL students served, over 300 across the area; enhance the instructional faculty's capacity to incorporate both civics and technology into the ESL curriculum, and engage students more fully with additional classroom materials and technology. Other program objectives include expanding the topics in the current ESL computer literacy curriculum, redefining content objectives and redesigning the CCCC ESL blog by adding links and ESL content contextualized instruction in career pathways to support workforce preparation and WIOA (the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). In addition, the technology section of the CCCC ESL blog will have new links, learning resources and activities for each monthly course. Through both in-state and out-of-state training, lead ESL instructors will enhance their instructional capacity for incorporating civics, technology, and WIOA into current classroom practices.
"Of the 143 students surveyed in the college's tri-county service area, 81 percent reported a need for some additional training in such basic computing areas as Internet navigation, e-mail, and office productivity software," said Julia Herbon, Lead ESL Instructor College and Career Readiness at the Siler City Center. "A total of 85 percent of all students surveyed, meanwhile, reported an interest in taking computing courses through CCCC."
Herbon, who has been employed with the ESL program since 2012, wrote the first and second grants and co-wrote the third grant with Teradee Hagan, Lead Instructor for College and Career Readiness at CCCC's Lifelong Learning Center at the W.B. Wicker Center in Sanford.
ESL teachers create an excellent learning environment that makes it possible to retain students and foster success, said Herbon. In addition to the ESL computer literacy class, both centers offer a distance learning program, "Crossroads Cafe," in which students watch an instructive video at home and complete an assessment sheet. They later meet with a Crossroads Cafe instructor, who corrects their homework and assesses their comprehension skills. CCCC also provides ESL students with class supplies
"The ESL program is highly beneficial for students. As they make progress in their English, they can get a better job, pursue a GED in English, start a career, and take continuing education courses at CCCC," said Herbon. "Our program can create a career pathway for students who never thought they had an opportunity to succeed in America,"
The CCCC ESL program really changes lives, said Hagan. "I love everything about my work, but I most enjoy watching students go from speaking almost no English to communicating well enough to get jobs or further their education!"
For more information about Central Carolina Community College, visit www.cccc.edu.
By Susan Welch, CCCC Correspondent
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