Education - Adult

Cash for Education

If a refugee is enrolled in school Michigan Works! can get them additional cash assistance. You, as a sponsor, need to inform Michigan Works! regarding school enrollment for them to get cash assistance. There is no automatic transfer of information between the refugee or school to Michigan Works! This often slips through the cracks leaving cash on the table.

Adult Basic Education

KRRC advocates using the Kalamazoo Literacy Center (KLC) for initial ESL enrollment (see the ESL page for links). New arrivals should be in contact with the KLC to develop an education plan around the adult learner's goals. ESL of Southwest Michigan is an affiliate of KLC, and provides a number of Community Literacy Centers, classes, private tutoring, computer training, and on-line learning options to get English Learners fluent to a sixth grade level. A typical student studying 8 hours per week on one subject can expect to advance 1 grade every 1 quarter, one that subject.

Subsequently, there are mechanisms in place to transition them to a G.E.D. preparatory program (such as the Kalamazoo Public School Adult Education program) and other employment goals. This is the key benefit in working with KLC/ESL of Southwest Michigan - there is a staircase that connects ESL to the student's higher educational goals.

ESL programming in Kalamazoo is a patch work of independent organizations, funded by different mechanisms and following various standards. There is no one governing body designing English classes in Kalamazoo. As a result, there is not continuous coverage for traditional ESL classes through out the year.

Many Kalamazoo "ESL classrooms" (2019) do not have funding to cover the whole year, with many running out of grant money around April. Then classes often do not start up until the fall resulting in a four month summer slide from May to August. This can be immensely frustrating to the student if their hard work is lost during these months. This gap increases the drop out rate.

If the student is registered with the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, they will have the option to cover those gaps with on-line learning augmented by a personal tutor. Therefore, building a relationship with and maintaining connection with a KLC personal tutor can ensure that the student has continuity of learning when there is a gap in class offerings. Note it is also hard to find an appropriate beginner class (Level 1 & 2) in the area; most classes teach intermediate levels 3 & 4. A KLC tutor can bring the student up to a level adequate to enroll in the more conventional area ESL classes.

The KLC is a reliable community provider for adult education, equipped with various tools to remove barriers (such as transportation). The organization will walk along side the student as they reach their goals. It is important for the refugee to own and drive their plan, as the sponsor relationship often transitions a number of months after arrival. Therefore, it is advantageous to have newly arrived refugees oriented with KLC soon after arrival.

Accessing Financial Education Curriculum

Samaritas has funding to provide financial literacy for refugees here less than 5 years, and they take referrals. Contact Samaritas for more information.

Michigan State University Extension (Arabic)

A five-module financial education curriculum translated into Arabic is now available for organizations. Using Dollar Works 2 (University of Minnesota Extension) and other handouts, the available booklets are organized into the following topics:

  • Decisions about Money
  • Budgeting
  • Income/ Savings
  • Credit
  • Insurance and Fraud

Instructor booklets contain pages in both English and Arabic, while the student booklets are only available in Arabic. Organizations may obtain access to these resources after attending an online Arabic Financial Education Curriculum Overview course. The two-hour session reviews content, suggestions for best practices, and a discussion of teaching methods. Contact: Khurram, (313)-494-4928, 248-914-2495,