English language program for immigrants created

Published: October 08, 2015 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Zions Bank announced a partnership with Southern Utah University’s new English Language Program, which supports non-native speakers in achieving English language proficiency. The first cohort will be comprised of 10 primarily Latino students who completed the GED program offered by staff and student volunteers through the SUU Hispanic Center. They were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend the new English Language Program, which started Oct. 5.

“We want non-native English speakers who are dedicated to furthering their education and improving their job opportunities to not feel held back by their financial circumstance,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank. “By removing the financial burden through a scholarship, we hope students can be rewarded with advanced language skills that improve not only their lives, but the entire community.”

The English Language Program is a 14-week iTEP preparation class held Monday through Friday for two hours in the evenings. The class prepares students for the iTEP exam, which when passed with a requisite score of 4.1 or higher, provides them with a certificate that can be used to apply for college admission or present for greater employment opportunities. Test preparation books for the program were generously donated by Boston Educational Services.

“Time is of the essence for individuals who are motivated to go to college or get a better job, but are inhibited because of their lack in the English language,” said Andrea Stiefvater, director of American Language and Cultural Center (ALCC) at SUU. “Through our specialized, small cohort in the English Language Program, we’re able to provide individual attention to each student and successfully advance their language skills, empowering them within just a few months.”

ALCC coordinates the English Language Program at SUU and provides other intensive English, workshop and pathway programs for international students who are or will matriculate into the university. ALCC partnered with Zions Bank to fulfill the need for intermediate- and advanced-level English language training in the community.

In addition to SUU, Zions Bank provides scholarships for English language programs at University of Utah, College of Western Idaho, Snow College and Washington County School District. Since 2005, Zions Bank has supported more than 400 individuals in completing an English language proficiency program. Eighty-seven percent of students have passed the exam and 78 have gone on to attend universities and colleges.

For more information or to apply for the English Language Program, call the American Language and Cultural Center at (435) 865-8033.

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