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Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

East Elmhurst, NY — State Senator Jose Peralta urged the State Senate to include $15.3 million in the final Fiscal Year 2018-19 Executive Budget to support Adult Literacy Education (ALE) programs. The current allocation for ALE classes in the proposed Executive Budget is $6.3 million. Changes to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) have resulted in $8 million that was previously available for English Language Civics to be allocated for other purposes. This will put 17,000 adult New Yorkers at risk of not been able to access these critical programs.

Modifications in the federal funding stream particularly hurts beginner-level and undocumented learners. Additionally, despite the spike in the immigrant population in New York, investment in ALE programs has remained unchanged for the past 10 years. More than two million adult New Yorkers lack a high school diploma and 2.3 million lack English proficiency.

In a letter sent to the State Senate and signed by a number of his colleagues, Senator Peralta pointed out that “only 2.5% of those in need of language development skills are able to participate in State-funded classes. It is estimated that over 50,000 New Yorkers are currently on waiting lists to access adult literacy classes.”

ALE programs are designed to help New Yorkers increase their language skills and credentials to improve their earning and employment potential. Classes are provided through community-based organizations, libraries, community colleges and volunteer groups. “Simply put, they are a springboard to a brighter future, with greater opportunity,” Senator Peralta wrote.

Senator Peralta, describing these programs as “lifelines to thousands of New Yorkers,” added in the letter that “a renewed investment in New York’s ALE programs will allow us to capitalize on the potential of hardworking New Yorkers who are seeking to build better lives for themselves and tier families.”

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