Destination Workforce®: Working Towards Literacy

July 7, 2017 at 1:09 PM | Posted in Destination Workforce, ESOL, Teaching | Leave a comment

Nationwide, 24% of the educated immigrant and refugee workforce is underemployed or unemployed [i], while over half of all immigrants in Fairfax County have limited English proficiency [ii]. LCNV’s Destination Workforce® is a response to these demographic and workforce demands. Developed as a fast-track language program for on-the-job or job readiness English language learning, each Destination Workforce® course is created in partnership with a local business or community organization. The class is customized to the specific needs of the partner, to cover industry or job specific vocabulary as well as U.S. work culture and professional etiquette. In the last few months, LCNV launched two unique Destination Workforce® programs in collaboration with different industry partners. Each is oriented towards helping individuals advance in their careers and job prospects.

The City of Alexandria’s Workforce Development Center VIEW Program sought LCNV’s expertise with beginning level English language and literacy learners to develop an intensive course to help newly arrived refugees – unable to read or write in their native languages and lacking any English proficiency – gain basic English literacy. As recipients of TANF funding, these clients are expected to assimilate and begin working within 90 days. With this 90-day deadline in mind, LCNV developed its most intensive beginning level Destination Workforce® program to date. The four week pilot class met four times a week for four hours at a time in Alexandria and was led by one teacher and three class aides, keeping the student-instructor ratio around 3:1. The course curriculum covered the very basics of workforce-English readiness to enable new immigrants to assimilate into the world of U.S. employment.

In the classroom, the students started tentatively but made great strides in a short period of time. The students’ initial fears of learning a new language – for some, this was their first formal classroom experience –evaporated quickly, and they readily made introductions and spoke about their newfound English skills by the end of the course. One of the key achievements that the students reported was their ability to speak about their personal information (such as their address, name and phone number) and their improved comfort and confidence while speaking English. The testing results also demonstrate just how far these students have come in a short period of time: all but one of the post-tested students made gains in their Best-Plus 2.0 scores. In fact, a majority of these students jumped one or even two Educational Functioning Levels! The husband of one of the students recently wrote, “Although the duration of this course was short and its content was very basic, [my wife] has learnt a lot. She is so happy the way she was [taught] and treated by her class teacher and class aides. According to some of her classmates who have been to other similar classes, this was the best class they have ever been [in].”  LCNV is thrilled to provide these students with the first steps toward the path to workforce readiness, and is already planning a follow-up class for the same cohort focused on their speaking skills and how to approach the job application process.

One of the core competencies in Destination Workforce® programs is to improve the learners’ understanding of formal speech. Success is measured when formal requests by supervisors are understood correctly the first time, leading to higher levels of productivity and better communications. In industries where formal requests come from customers such as hospitality, this improves levels of customer service and satisfaction.  An example of Destination Workforce® in the hospitality industry is LCNV’s partnership with B.F. Saul’s Crowne Plaza in Tysons Corner, VA.

LCNV began its partnership with B.F. Saul with the help of Tysons Partnership, a nonprofit collaborative of Tysons Corner Stakeholders. B.F. Saul had previously tried on-site ESL instruction for hospitality staff that was met with limited success, and sought a partnership with LCNV to increase employee successes in learning English. With 12 different employees participating, the Crowne Plaza-Tysons Corner class is off to a great start. Curriculum is focused on the day-to-day service provided by these employees, all of whom are housekeeping or banquet staff. One of the goals outlined by B.F. Saul is for their employees to “Know Your Hotel”. This means that employees will be able to answer standard job-related questions such as “where is the pool?” On an average day in the classroom, employees can be seen practicing dialogues about special requests for room preparation, or learning how to answer questions from customers about food options. During the development of this program, Crowne Plaza-Tysons Corner has been an outstanding partner. Employees meet twice a week for two hours while on the clock, and receive free lunch during class time. LCNV applauds Crowne Plaza-Tysons Corner for making this investment in the professional development of its dedicated employees.

LCNV will be expanding its Destination Workforce® programs with the help of new and committed partners during the 2018 fiscal year. The Literacy Council looks forward to expanding access to employee literacy programs with even more partners in the coming months.


[i] McHugh, Margie and Madeleine Morawski. 2015. Immigrants and WIOA Services: Comparison of Sociodemographic Characteristics of Native- and Foreign-Born Adults in the United States. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.

[ii] PolicyLink and The USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. 2015. Equitable Growth Profile of Fairfax County. Oakland, CA: PolicyLink.

LCNV AmeriCorps teachers volunteer at George Mason University’s Alternative Break Program

December 17, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Community, Teaching | Leave a comment
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Recently, LCNV AmeriCorps teachers,  Tristen Mimiaga, Xavier Munoz, and Shani Brown, agreed to voluntarily host a teaching workshop for the Alternative Break Program at George Mason University.  Here is the back-story from new AmeriCorps teacher, Tristen Mimiaga, on how this came to be:

“I was a member of the Alternative Break Program (AB Program) for two years; one year I only served as a member and the following year as a trip leader. The trips within the AB Program are designed and led by students. The theme/focus of the trip vary – not all trips do the same thing. For my trip in particular our focus was, and still is, education. So, I thought of the idea of providing a workshop for them because during both years there was little guidance available on teaching English at the school with whom we were working.  I got in contact with a friend of mine – who happens to be a leader for a trip leaving in January about possibly providing a workshop related to teaching methods/how to teach. So, this is how it came to be.

It ended up being a small workshop with three participants, but they were all very eager to learn and highly engaged.  We spoke about the qualities of good and bad teaching (and how to avoid bad teaching), the importance of modeling, how to use different types of dialogues within the classroom especially with various learning levels, and how catering to different learning styles can motivate students and prevent boredom from the sense of repetition.”

Click here to see more photos from the workshop.

Interested in finding out more, email info@lcnv.org or call the office at 703-237-0866.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

POSTPONED – Volunteer Open House in Lorton

October 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM | Posted in Class, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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* Due to the expected severe weather, this event is postponed. We will announce a new date soon!

Open House: Learn about Adult Literacy & ESOL Volunteer Opportunities!
Monday, October 29, 2012, 7:00 pm
Lorton Library, 9520 Richmond Hwy, Lorton, VA

Come hear about how you can make a difference as a Literacy Council volunteer!

LCNV’s mission is to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English, so they are empowered to participate more fully and confidently in their communities. LCNV’s approach is to involve volunteers as the English instructors for our adult learners. With LCNV training and support, volunteers help their neighbors directly. The Council has a dire need for more volunteers in and around Lorton.

Volunteers can serve as tutors, who work one-on-one with a learner, or as classroom teachers or aides who work with groups of 10-15 adults at a time. The Council also offers many non-teaching opportunities, from helping out in our office, to supporting special events and outreach. If you are interested in promoting adult literacy in Lorton, we’ll find something that fits your interests!

Join us on the evening of the 29th to learn about the Council’s work and how you can help someone in your neighborhood develop the English skills necessary to succeed!

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Ruba Afzal, LCNV’s Director of Volunteers, at 703-237-0866 x 111 or volunteers@lcnv.org.

Last Chance to Register for RACE FOR A CAUSE!

October 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Don’t miss your chance to sign up to support the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia for the Acumen Solutions™ Race for a Cause 8K and 1 Mile Fun Run, which takes place this Sunday, October 14, 2012, in Arlington.  

This a great event with a “super” post race event, which includes  yummy food from Anita’s, Chidogo’s, and Whole Foods, as well as fun kids activities AND awesome raffle prizes for “big” kids (must be present to win)! Come support our local Superheroes. We encourage you to sport your favorite “superhero” attire!  Don’t have a cape? Acumen Solutions will also be providing capes to all youth registrants!

We still need 40 registrants to be eligible for race proceeds.  YOU can help us reach our goal!  Join our walking literacy team? 

Not in town? Sponsor a friend or family member as a runner! Every donation – big or small – helps support our cause. Please call or email Suzie Eaton (seaton@lcnv.org) with any questions and go to www.theraceforacause.com to sign up!

Registration Costs

  • 8k: $35 through October 13
  • $40 Race Day
  • 1 Mile Fun Run: $20 Youth (no shirt; gift will be provided!);$35 Adult (8k technical T-shirt)

Registration Packet Pickup @ Potomac River Running Store, Arlington:

  • Friday October 12, 4-8 pm
  • Saturday October 13, 11 am – 4 pm
  • Sunday October 14 (Race Day), 6:30 am – 7:30 am

Course Map

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, Va 22042
(703)237-0866
www.LCNV.org

Thank You for Making One for the Books a Success!

October 5, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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On October 3, the Northern Virginia community came together to honor LCNV’s 50th year of providing much needed literacy services. The evening was filled with a festive and energizing spirit. LCNV held a raffle  for a week-long stay in St. John, which raised nearly $10,000 to help our students. Steve Beggs was the lucky winner!  Attendees also had the unique opportunity to hear from a LCNV student, Fatima, and learn how literacy has changed her and her children’s lives.

The Literacy Council extends a big thank you to Robert Egger who served as Master of Ceremonies, and José Andrés, David Baldacci, and Ric Edelman for sharing how  literacy has impacted their lives. State Senator Barbara Favola presented a proclamation to LCNV, and Congressman Jim Moran and Delegate Mark Keam shared their support.

Highlighting the partnership between LCNV and Wish You Well Foundation, Baldacci stated: “I would urge all of you to do as much as you can. Quite frankly, there could be no higher purpose in the nation.”

During the event, LCNV announced that an anonymous donor challenged the Council this year to raise gifts from new donors, as well as increased gifts from existing donors. The challenge will match these gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000. Andrés was the first to answer this call for support by making the first contribution to LCNV’s challenge grant. Will you join him in helping LCNV meet this challenge?   

Lastly, thank you to the following individuals who were instrumental in making this event a huge success: Mark Troppe, One for the Books Chair; Jan Auerbach; Avis Black; Cathleen Donnelly; Sally Jaggar; Misty Jones; Sarah Kenney; and Robin Walker.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, Va 22042
(703)237-0866
www.LCNV.org

Tonight: One for the Books Gala!

October 3, 2012 at 1:14 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Please join the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia this evening for our One for the Books gala!

Join LCNV, celebrity chef José Andrés, award-winning author David Baldacci, top-ranked financial advisor Ric Edelman, and nonprofit leader Robert Egger in celebrating 50 years of improving our community through literacy!

DATE: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012 │ 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

LOCATION: George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr., Alexandria, VA 22301

ACCESS: Free parking is available. Closest Metro station is King St.

ATTIRE: Business

TICKETS: Event tickets can be purchased in person tonight at the event, starting at 6 pm.

OPPORTUNITIES THIS EVENING INCLUDE:

  • A raffle drawing for a week-long stay in St. John! Please consider purchasing a $50 chance in person this evening!  The lucky winner will be announced tonight.
  • Book signing by José Andrés, David Baldacci, Ric Edelman, and Robert Egger at the end of the event. Books will be available for purchase on site that evening.
  • Adding a leaf on LCNV’s Giving Tree. Leaves on the tree can be purchased for various dollar amounts. Each leaf contains an item that will aid the Literacy Council in its effort to enrich the lives of those who wish to understand, speak, read and write English.
  • And, finally, there will be a “bookshelf” where you can write the title of your favorite book and put it on the bookshelf. What an opportunity to reminisce about all the favorite books you have read and try to figure out the best one! And you can get ideas for future reads from books listed by other attendees.

Thank you for your participation! We look forward to seeing you tonight at One for the Books!

2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, Va 22042│ (703)237-0866 │www.lcnv.org

It’s not too Late to Register for Class!

September 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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DOWNLOAD the Late Registration Flyer

Every LCNV ESOL Learning Centers or Family Learning class turns into its own little community, and every community is like a family.  Lorton Senior Center is one of our healthiest class sites, and I’m certain it’s because of the strong sense of community  among the students.  This past Monday, we had a really great registration, students were lined up outside the door an hour before start time.  Luckily, several of our volunteers arrived a few minutes early to help with forms, testing, and payment.

I believe that sense of community starts with a smile and an inviting gesture to join and share.  One students, who I had taught when I was an AmeriCorps Instructor, arrived at registration with two of her beautiful brown-eyed little boys in tow.  The student’s name is Ceci, and I remember her as the family stone of our class when I taught at Lorton’s former site, Grace Bible Church.  Ceci is an avid smiler, hand-shaker, team-worker, and laugh-sharer.  She constantly stretched her English speaking skills to communicate with classmates from different countries and on many occasions arrived at class with a new student to recruit for classes.

Ceci demonstrates exactly what kind of student our programs work for. Monday was her first time back at class in years, but this is because she took on new opportunities to work, birth a new son, and help her family through some  adjustments.  She still has a complicated life and a limited budget, but we’re still here to help her.  Now, she’s back because she still needs low-level English and LCNV still meets that need.  I know she’ll probably test out of our classes soon and be able to move on to new opportunities, but for now, I’m excited to see her grow and progress and help other students in her class.

You can help us meet the need of other learners and fill all of our other classes, too.  Take a look at our website to share our late-registration information at a grocery store, library, or other community location near you! Late registration will be held at LCNV’s headquarters located in James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042 on Saturday September 29nd  from, 3-6pm.

Katie Beckman
Program Assistant
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 116
kbeckman@lcnv.org
www.lcnv.org

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