The Jan. 7 editorial “Immigrant students must be protected in age cutoff” ended with a call to increase “funding for adult education and specifically English as a Second Language adult programs.” In 2014 the Commonwealth made a significant five-year commitment to decreasing the waiting list for ESOL classes, by issuing a Pay for Success contract to serve 2,000 adult learners in multiple cities. Through contextualized English language classes and job development services, immigrants are gaining the skills they need to enter and move up in the labor market, a primary goal of most adult students.
To the benefit of the Commonwealth, these students are now also increasing our tax revenues, which means the programs are paying for themselves. We encourage the state to continue its commitment to creative solutions to assist more adults in gaining the skills they need to join the workforce. Employers benefit from a new source of talent in this tight labor market, and students come off waiting lists and into the classroom and move better prepared into the workplace.