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University of Iowa News Release

June 30, 2006

UI Grant To Support Summer English Courses For Migrant Workers

Catherine Ringen, professor and chair of the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Linguistics and director of the department's English as a Second Language (ESL) program, and Maureen Burke, coordinator of the ESL program, have formed ESL classes designed for Williamsburg's migrant workers, beginning in July.

The program is made possible through a UI Year of Public Engagement (YPE) grant that Ringen and Burke successfully applied for last year.

Students in the adult classes will learn basic survival language skills needed to negotiate medical and banking transactions, trips to the grocery store and interaction with community members. Courses will be taught at the east migrant camp on Monday nights, the west camp on Tuesday nights, and continue through mid-August.

"Many of the adults are in the field all day, six to seven days per week," said Burke. "We're offering evening courses to accommodate the workers' schedules."

The weekly classes will be 1.5 hours in length, with a half-hour drop-in period that residents can use for individual questions. Separate courses will be offered to children, who will learn English through games and stories.

"We hope that the project will be a success," said Ringen. "This is an important service that the university can offer the community, and it fit well with the university's YPE goals."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077, lesly-huffman@uiowa.edu or Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu