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New Bedford Urges Businesses To Fund English Learning

This article is more than 11 years old.

Immigrant advocates and the city of New Bedford are calling on local businesses there to pay for immigrant employees to learn English.

As in most places around the state, immigrants in New Bedford have to wait months or even a year to take free, government-subsidized English classes.

Eva Millona, from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said learning English is the biggest obstacle for immigrant advancement.

"Seven out of 10 immigrant workers lack the necessary English proficiency to participate in the knowledge-based economy," Millona said.

New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang said it would help his city's economy if more businesses invested in immigrant workers. A similar statewide campaign has encouraged nearly 200 businesses around Massachusetts to pay for workers' English classes.

This program aired on August 24, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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