Heartland Community College is now offering a new program at the Western Avenue Community Center to help Bloomington residents who aren’t native English speakers gain the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Bridge to Workplace Technology is an Adult Education course that teaches some English language skills to English as Second Language (ESL) students. Students learn technology skills, workplace vocabulary, and reading, writing, and listening skills. It’s offered to every native speaker of any language. It’s also open to anyone seeking or currently holding a position in the workforce.
“After a long, rough couple of years with no state budget, we could not go out into the community and do these types of classes,” said Kerry Urquizo, director of Adult Education at Heartland. “We are at a point now where we can, so we’re very excited to get out there and work with our partners to offer these classes to the community.”
Western Avenue Community Center on Bloomington’s west side is a good fit for the Bridge to Workplace Technology class, Urquizo said.
“Western Avenue is the heart of the west side and we felt that this was a good area to go out into the community,” said Urquizo. “A lot of individuals can't make it all the way out to campus, so we wanted to bring this opportunity out to them.”
Since the program began in January, students are already benefiting, Urquizo said.
“We’re seeing students’ language ability catapulting into higher levels,” said Urquizo. “We’ve had some students gain three or four levels after taking this curriculum. We’re (also) seeing confidence in our students. We had students that were in their 80s who had never touched a computer before who were doing the curriculum and doing it successfully.”
Heartland offers numerous Adult Education programs that are also geared towards helping students find a career, English language skills, and many academic skills. Bridge to Workplace classes are tuition free and students can join at any time.
Those looking for more information or to register for Bridge to Workplace can contact the Heartland Adult Education office at (309) 268-8180.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.