Workers' Education Program: Past and Present
Since 1986, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center’s Workers’ Education Program (WEP) has offered free Adult Basic Education classes funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education. These classes have included Citizenship, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and General Educational Development (GED). Over the years, we have offered our classes in factories, union halls, and community centers in the New Bedford and Fall River areas.
Since 1995, we have offered many of our classes at the New Bedford campus of UMass Dartmouth. In 2004, our program moved to the newly renovated UMass Dartmouth Center for Professional and Continuing Education at 800 Purchase Street in downtown New Bedford. This new home for the WEP allows our students to learn English and upgrade their literacy skills in a high quality adult education facility. We appreciate this support from the university and we look forward to helping many more adult learners develop the language and literacy skills they need at work, at home, and in the community.
In addition to our New Bedford campus classes, we offer workplace education classes in partnership with unions and businesses. Currently, we have two workplace education programs. These programs are funded through a combination of grants from the Massachusetts Department of Education and employer contributions. In Fall River, three beginning level ESOL classes are offered to the associates at A.J. Wright Distribution Center. These workers are members of the UNITE!HERE union. In Taunton, Esterline Haskon Aerospace employees, represented by the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE), attend two ESOL classes.
This university was founded by the working people of this area. The Workers’ Education Program is for these very same people. Our staff and teachers look forward to continuing to bring the resources of the state and university to the Greater New Bedford and Fall River communities. We welcome students to stay in our classes for as long as they need to achieve their educational goals.
The Workers' Education Program goals are:
- To develop communication, reading, writing, and computer skills
- To increase knowledge of workers' rights
- To develop skills which may lead to job placement, retention, or advancement.
As our adult learners work toward these goals, they develop increased self-esteem. They become more confident and better able to participate in their classes, children's schools, unions, jobs, and communities.
WORKERS' EDUCATION PROGRAM:
EDUCATION THAT WORKERS CAN PUT TO WORK!
Last Updated On: 3/3/09