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BROCKTON

Partnership offers literacy program for Brockton’s immigrant workforce

Students exit and enter the Student Union building on the campus of Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass
Globe File 2009
The Student Union building at Massasoit Community College in Brockton.

A Brockton nonprofit is partnering with Massasoit Community College to provide an English and financial literacy program for city residents with limited proficiency, using a $10,000 grant from Eastern Bank.

“This free program will provide classes to students whose primary language isn’t English,” said Michael Gallerani, executive director of Brockton 21st Century Corporation, a city-funded nonprofit. It will “provide the skills that residents will need to succeed.”

A 2016 study compiled by Harvard and MIT on Brockton’s economy and development determined that immigrants, mostly from Cape Verde and Haiti, represent more than a quarter of the city’s population. And language barriers are “an obstacle for companies hiring employees and residents starting their own businesses,” according to researchers in the study.

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The literacy program will offer two classes, one in the afternoon and the other at night, with space for 18 participants each. Students will meet twice a week for 10 weeks, starting in early October, and will learn how to speak, read, and write English. Each session will last three hours.

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Massasoit will also include work-related and real-life situations in the curriculum, as suggested by the study. Toward the last week of classes, financial advisers from Eastern Bank will teach students how to handle basic banking, improve their credit, and more.

“We know that Brockton has a real need for this,” said Maryellen Brett, an associate dean at the college. “Many immigrants [who] want to work or [own] their own businesses need to learn English because it will be the first set of skills that is needed. Ideally, this program will be a foundation for that, and advances further education.”

Registration can be completed in person at Massasoit Community College, at 1 Massasoit Blvd.

Jonathan Ng can be reached at Jonathan.Ng@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanNgBOS.