Building on CLC's Educational Core

In addition to its core ESOL and Adult Basic Education classes, the Cambridge Community Learning Center offers innovative programs that put students on the fast track to success in school and in the workplace.

Adult Career Pathways offers immigrants each year the opportunity to hop on the health care career ladder through CLC’s ESOL/Certified Nurse Assistant program. Classes cover English, math, and career planning.

The Leadership Development Program offers CLC students the opportunity to earn while they learn and acquire computer, presentation, and leadership skills that are useful in the workplace.  Participants work in their communities as Literary Ambassadors, Health Advisors, and Community Engagement Outreach Workers.

The Family Literacy Program – All parents want their children to succeed in school. But many — especially those with limited English proficiency or low literacy skills are unsure what they can do to help their children learn. Recognizing that parents are a child’s first and primary teacher of language, the Community Learning Center has been teaching parents English while helping them boost their children’s school performance for nearly two decades through its Family Literacy program. As part of the city’s Agenda for Children Literacy Initiative, CLC reaches out into Cambridge neighborhoods to offer ESOL classes and parent-child sessions that introduce families to pre-literacy activities proven to help children succeed in school. With almost one-third of Cambridge Public School students non-native English speakers, this very important program educates parents of children up to age seven about how to support their child’s language and literacy development so their child will enter school ready to learn how to read and write.

Home Health Aide/Certified Nurse Assistant Program Offers Career Boost

The CNA/HHA training programs prepares students for the CNA state exam while they are improving their English, math and computer skills. The program graduates earn Alzheimer’s and CPR/AED certificates too. Students attend class three times a week for English, math, and career planning. Material for the classes is based on the language and math demands needed for training or on the job. Program graduates move on to the training programs to earn certification. At the completion of the program, the graduates are actively supported to get a job as CNAs/HHAs.


Community Engagement Team

The Community Engagement Team (CET) plays a major leadership role in helping the Cambridge Community Learning Center reach its primary goal–transforming the lives of its adult students who struggle to learn English, improve their education, and become culturally acclimated to a new environment.

A multi-agency collaborative, CET helps newcomers and other hard-to-reach Cambridge families educate their children, integrate into the workforce, and build better lives. Ten well-trained outreach workers, from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somali, the American Black community, and Spanish and Arabic-speaking countries, use their strong leadership skills to connect underserved Cambridge families to community events and resources, and help Cambridge agencies to be more successful in reaching diverse populations.

Outreach Workers Resourceful and Persistent

Stephanie Edma, a long-time resident of Cambridge, native of Haiti, former CLC student, mother and grandmother, and neighbor of CLC Outreach Worker Carrine Bury, did not expect to learn anything new when Carrine invited her to a parenting workshop. “To my surprise, in that presentation I learned a lot about the importance of talking to children…. information that helps me when I am taking care of my grandchildren,” she said.

Painful memories from childhood learning experiences were keeping an African American man with two adult children from coming to Outreach Worker Chris Hope’s “Reading to Children” workshop. Once he developed a relationship of trust with the man and his family through his church, John was able to convince him to come.

Other people have initially resisted the overtures of Outreach Workers because they were afraid someone was trying to get them to change their religion or a husband thought the caller wanted his wife to leave him. Another new immigrant did not register his son in school because he had heard the schools were very expensive. Each of these problems was solved with the patience, persistence, and cultural understanding of an Outreach Worker.

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