Massachusetts: Verizon Awards $150,000 to English as a Second Language Technology Programs

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Jul 10 14:05:00 UTC 2007

Verizon Awards $150,000 to English as a Second Language Technology Programs

Seven Nonprofit Agencies Expand Reach of Literacy Programs Across Massachusetts

July 9, 2007

Media Contact:
Stephanie Lee, 617-743-5440
Philip Santoro, 617-743-4760

BOSTON - Thousands of students across Massachusetts are improving
their literacy skills through innovative, technology-based literacy
programs. The Verizon Foundation has donated a total of $150,000 in
English as a Second Language technology (ESL) grants to seven
nonprofit organizations to foster innovative literacy programs that
expand their reach into diverse communities through the use of
broadband and video technologies.  "Verizon's goal is to ensure that
people in the communities we serve have the complex literacy skills
needed to effectively participate and compete in the 21st century,"
said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president of Massachusetts and Rhode

"Literacy provides the key to opportunity," Cupelo added.   "We are
proud to be partnering with seven wonderful agencies throughout
Massachusetts that provide individuals from diverse backgrounds the
ESL training necessary to build happy and productive lives here."

The 2007 ESL Technology Grant winners are:

Boston Adult Literacy Fund: The Boston Adult Literacy Fund (BALF) was
chosen as one of seven pilot sites nationwide to deliver LearnerWeb,
an innovative Internet and telephone-based portal for distance ESOL
(English for speakers of other languages) learning, to students in the
Boston area.  The LearnerWeb program uses technology as tools to
support self-directed learning for adults with basic skills needs.
Students can prepare for the GED or pursue other learning goals such
as fluency, citizenship, family literacy or preparing for college. The
LearnerWeb makes literacy resources accessible to students on their
own time and in their own environment.

Cambridge College: Cambridge College will expand its advanced ESL
training program, Ladder to Language, to offer pre-college computer
education and literacy services to adult learners in Lawrence and the
Merrimack Valley. The expansion will prepare students for employment
or to pursue additional education (certificates, college coursework)
through English language mastery. The Language Lab provides
state-of-the-art software enabling students to practice the TOEFL
exam, improve pronunciation with voice recognition software, hone
basic computer skills through tutoring software, and improve English
language comprehension with intensive listening exercises.

Framingham Adult ESL Plus: Framingham Adult ESL Plus will develop an
extensive curriculum that will integrate Pronunciation Power software
into the existing ESL Plus curriculum.  The software includes highly
interactive activities, games and dictionary pages to help students
improve their pronunciation while learning the English language.
Funds also will be used to train staff members on how to teach the
curriculum as part of the overall ESL program and run a pilot class.

Massachusetts Career Development Institute (MCDI): MCDI will launch
its year-long English for Employment program, which will provides
adult learners in the Springfield area with English language classes,
coupled with computer literacy, career and life skills, and
motivational workshops.  Students engaged in the program also will
have access to a comprehensive menu of one-stop education, training
and support services, and a job placement center that prepares and
helps place students in the workforce.

Northern Essex Community College (NECC): NECC will provide students
enrolled in Developmental Education, ESL and literacy programs with an
opportunity to develop Information Technology literacy skills while
continuing to improve literacy and academic skills. Through this
project, students will become fluent in information technology and be
encouraged to consider careers in information technology by enrolling
in and completing the college's Certificate in Information Technology.

United Neighbors of Cleghorn: The Cleghorn Neighborhood Center will
offer an adult education program for low-income Latinos through a
technology-based curriculum that combines four main components needed
to succeed in life: General Education Diploma (GED) preparation, ESL,
computer training and leadership development. Curriculum will be
offered in both Spanish and English. Learners will gain skills in
basic math and literacy, computers and the English language, and the
skills needed to find better job opportunities and career advancement.

Worcester Public Library: The Worcester Public Library, in partnership
with Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester, will provide critical
instruction in English literacy to learners in central Massachusetts.
The Worcester ESL program will provide classroom instruction in
English through Rosetta Stone software, which covers four integrated
literacy skills: comprehension, speaking, writing and reading. The
project also will provide learners with computer lab instruction. The
goal is to increase English literacy and integrate technology literacy
to enhance computer skills while improving functional English

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon
Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education;
fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting
the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the
foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit
agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched
charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in
$29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon
Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer
programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly
3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in
2000.  For more information, visit

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a
leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless
communication innovations to mass market, business, government and
wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most
reliable wireless network, serving 60.7 million customers nationwide.
Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers
innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the
world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of
converged communications, information and entertainment services over
the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company,
Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year
generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.
For more information, visit
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