Preparing Today™s Asylum Seekers to Be Tomorrow™s Workforce
2 October 2023
At the Adult Learning Center at the Flushing Library, 500 people came to the library every three days for three months to register for a lottery to receive one of the 75 to 150 seats in its ESOL program, according to front-line staff. [...] “We are not funded by the city nor by the state for any of the training, and particularly for immigrants the need has become bigger and bigger and taller and taller,” says Sigamani. [...] Tse, of the Chinese-American Planning Council, says that “for the city and all the foundations to only move to the tech industry or the industries that are booming, only health care and leaving out the other sectors as well, that might be really devastating for one side. [...] “It doesn't have to be the last stop on someone's journey but it could certainly be the first—and there's a lot of demand for labor in the restaurant industry.” The 6 situation has recently led restaurants to increase pay and benefits , which in turn strengthens the appeal of career training that can lead to the better-paying jobs within the sector. [...] To address the unprecedented surge in demand for English language classes, Governor Hochul and the State Legislature should provide an immediate funding boost for basic and intermediate ESOL programs run by CUNY, the city’s public library systems, and nonprofit training and literacy assistance organizations, which absorb the bulk of the demand.