Members of an immigrant education group announced plans Friday to teach practical English skills to Latina garment workers and their children.
"This is to allow people to express their needs," said Judy Spiegel, a senior vice president of the California Community Foundation, which is funding the program. "They need to be able to address safety issues in the workplace, secure wages and benefits, and make sure that they are getting at least the minimum wage, because oftentimes they are not."
The education group, Centro Latino de Educacion Popular, will use the $50,000 grant to start the program next month.
Twelve future students joined foundation and Centro Latino administrators in front of Evelyn Gratts Elementary School to explain the program's goals. Centro Latino's executive director, Marcos Cajina, said the future of Latinos in the city is "dependent on their ability to access education and employment."
He said his group will enroll 200 students in classes at Gratts Elementary School, providing practical English skills aimed at the workplace and child care. Most of the students are graduates of another Centro Latino program that since 1991 has taught women to read and write in their native language.