NEW YORK – Helping immigrants learn English can have a big impact on their earning potential, according to a new report. “Teaching Toward Equity,” by the Center for Popular Democracy and Make the Road New York, says income inequality is one of the most pressing issues facing New York.
According to research analyst Kate Hamaji, report co-author, helping immigrants improve their English language skills can raise their earning potential by as much as 24 percent.
“If all limited-English-proficient individuals in New York City became English proficient, they could see a cumulative increase in earnings of $3.1 billion to $5.8 billion,” says Hamaji. “And at the state level, earnings could increase by $4.5 billion to as much as $8.2 billion.”
The report calls on the city and state to increase funding for English-language programs in the coming fiscal year.
Hamaji says in New York City, new investments of $16 million would help more than 13,000 additional students attend adult literacy programs.
“And then at the state level, we are recommending the New York State Education Department increase funding for adult literacy education to $17.2 million,” she says.
They also recommend $10 million investments in occupational skills training and workforce development programs for immigrants across the state.
And Hamaji points out helping immigrants increase their earnings would do more than reduce income inequality. She says it also would benefit local businesses and the state’s bottom line.
“People spend money locally,” says Hamaji. “It would generate increases to local and state taxes, all of which is beneficial to the local and state economy.”
She says increasing English-language proficiency would build on other successful initiatives to combat inequality, including universal pre-K and New York City’s municipal ID program.
PHOTO: Improving English language skills can raise immigrants’ earning potential as much as 24 percent. Photo Credit: Korean Resource Center/Flickr.
Disclaimer: News articles on this site may contain opinions of the author, and if opinion, may not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself or the views of the owners of NewsLI.com, Long Island Media Inc., or Long Island Exchange®. For more information on our editorial policies please view our terms of service.