MARINETTE—For many immigrants in the U.S., learning English is just one of the many hurdles they must overcome; the process requires countless hours of memorizing vocabulary, conjugations, grammar rules and agreements, to say nothing of the accents and cultural nuances that can make even the simplest of phrases incomprehensible to someone who is unaccustomed to them.
Marinette & Oconto County Literacy Council President Janet Glime and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College of Marinette (NWTC) Dean Jennifer Flatt—who worked together to bring the exhibit “Immigrant Journeys From South of the Border” to the NWTC campus in Marinette—are both very much aware of these challenges and have taken part in efforts to make language services and support more accessible for new community members.
…Corinne Mathieu, an assistant professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay said this pattern has been typical throughout the history of the region. “The interest in ESL programs does tend to be responsive to waves of immigration and geographic location,” she said. “For example, some rural areas are now beginning to develop more robust ESL services as migrant workers and immigrant factory workers join communities. ESL services also see upticks when we have refugee resettlement like the Hmong groups in the 1970s and Somali or Afghan refugees in some areas today.”