UMass Dartmouth Workplace Education Programs
Since September 2004, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Workers' Education Program has offered educational services to UNITE!HERE members at A. J. Wright Distribution Center in Fall River, MA; UE members at Esterline Kirkhill-TA, Taunton, MA; and since September 2007 to 1199SEIU members at Brandon Woods of New Bedford, New Bedford, MA. These programs are funded by the MA Department of Education.
This year A. J. Wright and Esterline Kirkhill-TA programs received grants for years four and five from the MA Department of Education to provide ESOL classes (English to Speakers of Other Languages) to the workforce. The A. J. Wright students are members of UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees. They are General Warehouse associates at the Distribution Center located at 350Commerce Drive in Fall River’s Industrial Park. The classes are held in the training room during the associates’ lunch breaks and meet three days a week for an hour and twenty minutes. There are two first shift classes and an evening class for the second shift. These classes serve a total of 54 students.
UE (International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers) Esterline Kirkhill-TA students are recruited at the factory, which manufactures window and door seals for commercial and military aircraft and is located at 336 Weir Street, Taunton, MA. The two classes are held on M/W and TU/TH for two hours each day. These classes serve a total of 24 students from both the first and second shifts.
1199SEIU (Service Employees International Union) United Health Care Workers East is the largest union of health care workers in the United States. The students at Brandon Woods of New Bedford want to become Licensed Practical Nurses and are studying to pass the LPN entrance exam for acceptance into the program. The LPN Preparation class meets on M/W from 1:30 – 3:30 pm a the nursing home. This class serves 10 students.
The goals of The Workers' Education Program are:
- to develop students' communication, reading and writing skills.
- to increase students' knowledge of unionized workers' rights.
- to help students develop skills which may lead to job retention, advancement or placement.
- to increase students' community involvement, and to develop students' increased self- esteem.
As ESOL students improve their reading levels in English, they become eligible for entry into GED classes if they do not have a high school diploma from their native country.
For information about our workplace education programs call Georgette Biscari, UMassD Workplace Coordinator, at 508-999-0981.Last Updated On: 7/23/08