Connecting adult immigrants to learning in the libraries

Our Students

Over the past 7 years, RIFLI has served over 1,252 families with 5,751 adults and 2,597 children. Our program is accessed primarily by newly arrived immigrants, the majority have been in this country less than 5 years, who do not speak English or who speak English at a very low level. Most are low income. Learners are from 52 different countries with Spanish as the predominant native language.

Approximately 73% of our adult learners are women. Children in the program are almost all bilingual and range in age from 3 to 12 with the average age of 7.

Learners include farmers and laborers who have little formal education (21%) and professionals who need to gain language skills to resume their careers in the United States (29%). Many of the professionals worked in their own countries in such careers such as accounting, social work, nursing, psychology, engineering and teaching but are now working in factories (32%), or as laborers, housekeepers or service workers (21%). Only half of the adult learners have had some secondary education.

There are increasing numbers of unemployed learners at the beginning level of English language acquisition who are in great need of our services to gain a foothold in the job market.

Our learners often list “getting a job” or “going to college” as a primary or secondary goal for taking our classes. Obtaining a GED, transition to college or moving from our program to a higher level, more intensive program are generally the typical next step after completing our program. Most learners indicate that they want to assist their children to learn English and to achieve in school.