Free english classes in NYC

August 6, 2008 9:13:16 AM PDT
New York City is known as a city of immigrants, yet there's a serious shortage of free english classes. The demand continues to grow, yet funding is not keeping pace.

Students at the Queens Community House in Jackson Heights have won a lottery. The prize is a place in this free english class.

"People are literally banging down the doors trying to get into programs throughout the city," said K.C. Williams.

Williams adds, "I have heard estimates of 50-thousand people on waiting lists."

Farzana Morshed, from Bangladesh, took classes and now works for the non-profit.

"I think every immigrant need free English classes because when they first came here, they can't speak very well. They don't get very good job," she said.

According to recent figures,there are about 1.7 million adults in New York City who don't speak english. Only about 50,000 of them have found a spot in english class.

In recent years, more state money has gone to such classes, though that could be cut in Albany later this month.

City funding for adult education is down compared to last year.

Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott cites the tough economy. "There are fewer dollars as compared to last year, but again it's important to note that there are more dollars than several years ago," says Walcott.

Studies confirm when people learn english, they do get better jobs.

For where to find Free English Classes, click below.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News Long Island education reporter Art McFarland

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