PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The news that Portland Adult Ed has to move out of the crumbling West School has revealed a big need in Maine's largest city: Adult classes for those learning English as a second language. Portland Adult Ed has seen the number of students in its program grow 42 percent over the past 5 years, and it has a 6 month wait list. And Learning Works, which created a grant-funded ESL program in 2003 partially to meet the demand, also has a 6 month waiting list for its classes.
There are growing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants coming to Maine, and this state doesn't have many manufacturing jobs that do not require you to speak English.
Portland Adult Ed director Rob Wood said, "It really is a workforce issue. We need immigrants for our workforce, and we need to train them. The longer it takes us to train them both in English and in work skills, the longer they're on public assistance."
Learning Works is looking for more funding and more teaching volunteers to expand its program. If you're interested, you can contact director Paul Manoff at (207) 775-0105.
Portland Adult Ed is looking for volunteers and space. If the city is unable to find a new building for the program by September, Adult Ed will lose some of its classroom space, and the waiting list is expected to more than double. To help out Adult Ed, you can email FriendsofPAE@gmail.com.