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East Valley Focus

SYLMAR : Immigrants With Degrees Assisted

October 26, 1994|ED BOND

Many experienced professionals, with master's degrees and good educations they obtained in other countries, are working at low-paying jobs in this country.

But help is available through programs such as the Bilingual Professional Expressway at Mission College in Sylmar, said Renee Baez, the project director.

"We have people from all over the world, mostly from Latin America," said Baez, who is from Colombia.

The project was started five years ago when the college learned that a large percentage of illegal immigrants who had received amnesty had professional degrees. Baez said one of the students in the program had been working in menial jobs, not realizing that his degree in engineering could be valid here.

The program, which until two years ago was funded by a federal grant, helps immigrants learn English and gives them guidance in finishing the necessary course work or certification to perform in their professions in the United States.

The enrollment fee is $13 a unit and financial aid is available. A Saturday program in which students can enroll at any time is also available. For more information, call (818) 364-7735.

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