College Now Offers English as a Second Language Classes at Centro Civico

February 20, 2020

An instructor teaches ESL students at Centro Civico in Albany

In the interest of expanding services to the community, Hudson Valley Community College is now offering non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at Centro Civico in Albany. These new offerings complement a wide array of ESL courses and programs already offered on campus and at the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center.

For 30 years, Centro Civico has provided adult literacy and language courses, health and education programs, employment services, low-income housing opportunities, small business development, consumer advocacy, and cultural and social activities for immigrant populations. Although the non-profit was established to serve the Latino population, it now serves a wide range of immigrant Americans.

Last fall, leaders from Centro Civico and Hudson Valley began to discuss partnership opportunities and ideas for delivering new educational programs. Those conversations led Hudson Valley to launch a beginner-level ESL course, as well as an intermediate level course at Centro Civico’s Albany location, both of which began earlier this year. Instructors Elaine Friedman and Shauna Anderson are teaching both courses at Centro Civico, which will run through the spring.

“We are always looking for creative solutions to meeting the needs of our local community organizations. This new partnership with Centro Civico is one example of how we are able to connect with students where they are and deliver specialized coursework in an environment that’s right for them,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Roger Ramsammy. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, so we’re open to new models that reach new students.”

Since becoming Hudson Valley’s president in July of 2018, Dr. Ramsammy has aimed particular focus toward developing new strategies and initiatives to reach underserved communities. In December, the college hosted a community event that brought together more than 20 organizations in the Capital Region who work on language and literacy with new immigrant and refugee communities. This meeting was the result of an earlier Interfaith Community Forum, where members of the region’s religious communities suggested solutions to education and workforce challenges they see amongst their congregations and community members.

Associate Dean of Community and Educational Partnerships Deborah Shoemaker said the partnership between Hudson Valley and Centro Civico may expand later this summer, as the college and non-profit have been discussing the potential for offering citizenship preparation classes in addition to ESL classes.

The college also offers credit-bearing ESL courses through the Department of English, Foreign Languages and English as a Second Language. In addition, the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center, a division of the college, offers three levels of instruction for ESL at no cost to those who qualify.

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