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Contextual Learning Demonstration Program Solicitation (SGA/DFA 99-008)



MEDIA CONTACT:      David Stewart
OFFICE:(202) 219-6871 ext. 152


A West Palm Beach nurse training program, a New York City Hispanic women's services center, a Tucson program for laid-off workers and four other organizations around the nation were awarded grants today by the Department of Labor to develop new approaches to help non-English speaking job seekers get the skills they need.

People with no English, or limited English, have an additional burden when they look for work, President Clinton said. This pilot program is designed to help those workers share in our nation's economic prosperity, and to help employers find the skilled workers they desperately need.

The uniqueness of these grants is that they support teaching language skills while teaching job skills, rather than one at a time, Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman said. This will help them get into the job market faster.

The programs awarded grants will give non-English speaking job seekers simultaneous English instruction and job skills for specific professions. Generally, prospective workers who have insufficient English skills have been enrolled in English as a Second Language courses as a prerequisite to specific job skills training.

The department awarded seven so-called contextual learning grants, totaling nearly $6.2 million, for innovative job training programs. Grants were awarded to organizations in West Palm Beach, Fla., Silver Spring, Md., Pima County, Arizona, Boston, St. Paul, Minn., Bronx, N.Y., and Orange, N.J.

This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 219-5577. TDD message phone: 1-800-326-2577.


1. Nurse Assistant Training School, Inc.
5154 Okeechobee Blvd., Suite 201
West Palm Beach, Florida 33417
Contact:     Lois M. Gackenheimer      (561) 683-1400
Award Amount: $748,590
This project will test innovative training strategies for reducing the time required to serve 100 individuals with low literacy, numeracy and limited English speaking ability to develop skills needed for demand occupations in Health Care that have long term growth potential. The project will take place in Palm Beach County, Florida. This innovative Bi-Lingual Educational Program will customize training to incorporate experiential, contextual strategies with practical work experiences so that literacy, numeracy, and vocational skills will be fully integrated and competency based for meaningful application of skills and successful achievement.
2. National Senior Citizens Education and Research Center
8403 Colesville Road, Suite 1200
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Contact:     Dorinda F. Fox      (301) 578-8808
Award Amount: $ 1,000,000
The National Senior Citizens Education and Research Center (NSCERC) has developed a prototype work place literacy training program that uses contextual, experiential learning approaches and involves workers with employers at each stage of retraining.

The model is based on a conceptual framework that includes identifying and building on transferable skills and worker assets; integrating work life planning concepts into all aspects of project services; developing structures within the workplace that support a training and learning environment; and creating work places that celebrate differences and recognize the contributions of all workers. The approach incorporates basic skills and English as a second language development with vocational skills training within the context of the work place. With this model the project plans to serve 150 dislocated workers.

3. Pima County Community Services
32 N. Stone, 16th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Contact:     Mr. Charles Casey      (520) 740- 5205
Award Amount: $788,110
This project proposes to partner with employers, educators and employment and training professionals to serve 60 individuals. The project offers contextual English as a Second Language and vocational training in the nursing career field for displaced workers with limited proficiency in English and limited vocational and basic skills. The program's short term benefits include placing participants in growing industry with a career ladder; the long-term benefits include developing unique components for study, institutionalization and replication. Building on local economic development strategies, the program design meets the needs of both employers and Title III dislocated workers in Pima County and Santa Cruz County.
4. Economic Development and Industrial Corp.
43 Hawkins Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Contact:     Ms. Constance J. Doty      (617) 918-5252
Award Amount: $1,000,000
This project is proposed by the Boston SDA's Office of Jobs and Community Services working with Boston One Stop Career Centers, the Boston Public Schools School-to-Career Program, Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, an employer advisory council and community-based training providers to design a program of contextualized ESL combined with retraining and re-employment for 140 dislocated workers with limited English proficiency. The project aims to provide these services while strengthening the Boston workforce development system's capacity to provide effective, efficient services to dislocated workers in the context of One-Stop Career Centers, individual training accounts, development of meaningful evaluation of the quality of training programs and other implications of the Workforce Investment Act.
5. Minnesota Teamsters Service Bureau
2550 University Avenue West, #160-S
St. Paul, Minnesota 55114
Contact: Ms. Jean Dunn, Executive Director (651) 647-6478
Award Amount: $ 953,521
One of the major goals of this project is to demonstrate the role hospital and health care employers, unions, SDAs, Minnesota's workforce centers (One-Stop Career Centers), adult basic education providers, public and private postsecondary training programs, and community-based organizations serving limited English proficiency groups can play in addressing the employment and training needs of 160-170 dislocated workers.

The project seeks to (1) develop and test employer-based contextual learning strategies that promote the integration of basic skills and vocational skill development, (2) develop and implement methods that accelerate the learning process and shorten the overall time required to meet hiring requirements through collaborative planning and the delivery of services, (3) target contextual learning to high-growth hospital and health care occupations where career advancement and promotional opportunities are present, (4) develop and demonstrate innovative, replicable, and cost-effective contextual learning strategies that are readily transferable to other hospital and health care industries and organizational settings within Minnesota and nationally.

6. Her Step Up
West 181st Street & University Avenue
Bronx, New York 10453
Contact:     Mr. Modi Essoka      (718) 731-5010
Award Amount: $1,000,000
This project seeks to demonstrate that low income dislocated Hispanic women can improve their career development if provided the right education in the context of a corporate setting. In collaboration with SEARS, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY) would train 120 women (75% Hispanic, 25% other immigrant women with low English language skills). The training will be in two areas (i) automotive para-professionals coupled with customer service representative, or (ii) computer diagnostic operator with customer service representative.
7. The First Occupational Center of Professional Service
391 Lakeside Avenue
Orange, New Jersey 07050
Contact:     Mr. Gerard M. Gannon      (973) 673-5800
Award Amount: $705,478
This project plans to upgrade 140 dislocated workers' skills and will meet the needs of a changing economy. The project will offer basic skills, ESL instruction and training in: Commercial Drivers License, hospitality training and building maintenance training. The project is unique in that the training will be customized to each trainee's needs. Programming will be tailored to meet the dislocated worker's interests, achievement levels and preferred learning styles. Contextual learning strategies will be used throughout the training.