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The Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE), in collaboration with its member colleges, has established a data base of effective practices in immigrant education and workforce development. The case studies presented here draw upon the knowledge and expertise of several member colleges across the country and provide community college administrators, staff, faculty, and students an opportunity to learn from one another, share new ideas, and expand and improve their programs to serve immigrant, refugee, and undocumented students.

 The case studies describe specific programs, the student populations served, community partners, success factors, challenges faced, outcomes, and funding sources. Several colleges have produced guides and other useful resources, which are included in the case studies. We encourage community college educators and the various key stakeholders with whom they collaborate to use these case studies as practical models of change and as a way to gauge their organization’s progress in the field of immigrant education and workforce development:

  • Alamo Colleges, NM. The Brackenridge and Harlandale Education and Training Centers have been leading the Alamo Colleges District (ACD) nearly 20 years in providing direct assistance to undocumented student Dreamers and their families in a friendly, welcoming, and bilingual (English/Spanish) environment.  Serving as the link between the ACD and its immigrant students, the Centers provide preliminary enrollment services with admissions, financial aid, basic skills assessment, career exploration, and registration in academic and workforce training pathways, including GED and vocational ESL classes.
  • Dutchess Community College, NY. The Consortium for Undocumented Students is a cross-departmental coalition to address the needs of undocumented and DACA students and potential students regardless of citizenship status. The Consortium operates as a collaborative coalition of support and informational resources for students, faculty, staff, and community members, and addresses systemic issues to facilitate undocumented students’ access and educational success at DCC.
  • Everett Community College, WA. The Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program, housed in the Transitional Studies department, provides students with literacy education and workforce skills at the same time. In addition to professional and technical I-BEST programs in Business, Manufacturing, Health Sciences, IT, and Early Childhood Education, the Transitional Studies department has expanded I-BEST programs to English and Math departments. The department also works closely with the Center for Diversity and Equity and its DACA student navigator. 
  • Highline College, WA. The Puget Sound Welcome Back Center (PSWBC), one of ten Welcome Back Centers that make up the national Welcome Back Initiative, helps internationally educated professionals recertify to work in the United States. PSWBC started in 2008, initially serving healthcare professionals, but in 2014 expanded its services to assist professionals in other fields as well, including STEM, business, and educational fields.
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology, WA. This Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program has increasingly added more professional-technical options, precollege I-BEST programs in math and English and Academic I-BEST options. All of LWTech’s 41 areas of study are organized into 10 schools, with each school including at least one I-BEST program. English language learners currently make up the great majority of students in the LWTech basic education and I-BEST programs.
  • Miami Dade College, FL. The Foreign Trained Professionals program is a one-stop shop for individuals with foreign academic credentials seeking to continue their careers in the United States. As such, the program provides academic guidance and support services for credit and non-credit students seeking credential recognition of foreign degrees, licensing, certification courses, and identification of pathways leading to a quick return to professional careers.
  • Miami Dade College, FL. The Refugee/Entrant Vocational Educational Services Training (REVEST) program is a comprehensive program of adult credit and non-credit English language and vocational training courses, designed to improve the employability of adult refugees, Cuban/Haitian entrants, political asylees, victims of severe forms of trafficking, and Amerasians in Miami-Dade County. The program also provides its students with academic assessment, long-term advisement, referrals to legal services and employment agencies, transportation and childcare subsidies, and assistance with the translation and evaluation of foreign earned credentials.
  • Montgomery College, MD. WorkPlus+ features entry-level English language courses that focus on career exploration, the world of work, and core concepts in specific career sectors, including healthcare and building trades. Labor market credentials along career pathways are offered in the following areas: Apartment Leasing Professional, Apartment Maintenance Technician, Child Development Associate, Comp TIA A+, Geriatric Nursing Assistant, and Electrocardiogram.
  • Northern Essex Community College, MA. PIÉS Latinos works with all immigrant professionals, independently from the country of origin, by helping with the process of transferring credits to U.S. higher education institutions. The program assists immigrant professionals if they started their education abroad and want to finish it in the U.S. or if they are looking to study in a different field or directly enter the workforce. Guidance regarding state licensures for certain careers is also provided.
  • Northern Virginia Community College, VA. The Part-Time Career Readiness program, housed in the college’s American Culture and Language Institute, offers courses to help immigrant students improve their work-related skills in English or to prepare for NOVA Workforce’s programs in healthcare, IT, and business. Students’ soft skills in teamwork and intercultural communication are also developed via working-across-cultures units. 
  • Pima Community College, AZ. The Refugee Education Program offers English Language Training (ELT) to refugees, asylees, and Special Immigrant Visa holders who have been in the U.S. for less than five years. The curriculum is employment focused and emphasizes workplace language and culture. ELT classes provide instruction contextualized to the Health, Business/Information Technology (IT) or Applied Technology sectors, and guide students through career exploration and workforce preparation activities. Students have access to college and career navigators and a Student Success Coach.
  • Pima Community College, AZ. The Transition to U.S. Workforce program currently operates on an as-needed basis and consists of workshops for highly skilled immigrants and refugees that focus on introducing U.S. job culture and practices for working in the U.S, including: writing a job-related biography and practicing an elevator speech, writing a cover letter and resume, practice interviewing, and learning about U.S. laws as they apply to employees and employers.
  • Portland Community College, OR. Integrated Education and Training Career Pathways offer non-native English speakers, immigrants, GED, and developmental education students an accelerated path to build their academic, language and job skills concurrently.  Students take a contextualized remediation course in tandem with their college classes to earn a Career Pathway credential. The model also integrates work-based learning, high-impact student support practices, and partnerships with community-based organizations and workforce agencies.
  • South Texas College, TX. The Integrated Career Pathways program allows underprepared immigrant students (low-skill, low-literacy) without a high school diploma or High School Equivalency (HSE) to transition from contextualized ESL into credit-bearing postsecondary occupational programs while acquiring a HSE certificate and basic literacy skills. 

More information on these and other case studies illustrating effective practices in immigrant education and workforce development can be found in these CCCIE books:

Working Toward an Equitable and Prosperous Future for All: How Community Colleges and Immigrants Are Changing America (2019 Rowman & Littlefield and American Association of Community Colleges). Also available on Amazon.

Working Together: How Community Colleges and Their Partners Help Immigrants Succeed

(2019 Rowman & Littlefield and American Association of Community Colleges). Also available on Amazon.

For additional information on CCCIE, visit cccie.org. If you’re interested in sharing resources or case studies, contact info@cccie.org.

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