English proficiency for economic self-reliance for immigrants in Portland, Maine

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Southern New Hampshire University
The primary motivation for taking on this particular project is the increasing numbers of Africans in Portland Maine who are not realizing their full potential in the labor market. The community targeted for intervention is people who have immigrated to Portland from the three countries of Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three countries are collectively known as the Great Lakes Region of central Africa. All three countries have experienced many years of war and unmitigated violence. Portland has experienced a wave of immigration over the past ten years exacerbating the competition for what limited jobs there are available. This project focuses on 80 men and women who were chosen on the basis of their education, professional experience, and motivation to improve and perfect their English in order to improve their job income, position or prospect. Wage earners are concentrated in the health care field where wages are comparatively low and higher education and English-language proficiency are keys to long term success. The significant outputs are organizing the men and women into activities that will improve their English skills as well as their job seeking skills in a short period of time. The target group is motivated to begin. The project is exciting to them. The major outcomes to date are the relationships we have built with key partners and the awareness by the whole community of 800 of the need for such work. We recommend swift action for early success. The problem worsens as the potential talent pool grows and the job market recovers from the recession. (Author abstract)