Luma Dawood went to Corona-Norco Adult School to learn English, but found so much more. PHOTO COURTESY OF LUMA DAWOOD
A new language was only the start Integrated Education Training combines learning English with career technical skills BY ALLEN PIERLEONI
shy to talk to anyone. hen Luma Dawood left Iraq for a safer “I am so grateful for this school; it’s like my family,” life in the United States, she brought she says. “They helped me become a better mom along a master’s degree in environmental engineering and a four-year degree in civil engineering. because now my kids listen to me because I can speak English.” Despite those towering credentials, she spoke Dawood experienced first-hand CNAS’ innovative practically no English (as she says, “‘Yes,’ ‘no’ and Integrated Education Training program sometimes ‘hi’”) and was coming cold to a for three career pathways — Early foreign culture where she “felt like an Childhood Development, Business alien,” recalls Dawood, 47. “I’d left Office Technology and Trade everything behind. I felt shy and Skills. lonely and had no friends.” In addition to specialized Dawood enrolled her classes for each pathway, children in school, where the program involves they soon learned to speak accelerated English-language English, “leaving a language classes focusing on the gap between them and vocabulary and technical me,” she says. “I wanted to terminology specific to a close that gap and decided particular pathway. In other I should do something for words, the language has myself as a mom.” context. She learned about For instance, the Corona-Norco Adult School Business Office Technology (CNAS) and enrolled in its instructor collaborates closely English as a Second Language Dr. Thoibi Rublaitus with the English teacher to program. “The people in Principal, Corona-Norco Adult School help incorporate the specialized my classes all had different vocabulary and terminology the backgrounds and spoke different graduate will find in the workplace for that particular languages, but we were all in it together,” she says. pathway. It’s a contextualized “shortcut” for the Soon, Dawood discovered the school’s menu English-learning student. of Career Technical Education classes for English “The program’s ultimate goal is to get our students language-learners and began signing up. “I love to into the workforce faster and with more confidence, study and learn,” she explains. “Whenever they offered which benefits our community,” says CNAS principal something, I took it to encourage myself.” Dr. Thoibi Rublaitus. Along her CNAS journey — with many certificates in multiple fields — Dawood learned that adult education does much more than prepare students For more information on Corona-Norco Adult Education, for the workplace, she says. “It’s where we learn the visit adulted.cnusd.k12.ca.us or call 951-736-3325. systems of life in the U.S. Now I have lots of friends from school. We go out together and I love it. I’m not
The program’s ultimate goal is to get our students into the workforce faster and with more confidence, which benefits our community.
Getting jobs faster Corona-Norco Adult School is an innovator among the Riverside ABOUT STUDENTS Regional Consortium for Adult Education. For instance, its leading-edge Integrated Education Training (IET) program helps its certificate-holding, Englishlearning students join the workforce faster. IET is powered by specialized classes concentrated on teaching the technical terminology and vocabulary at the heart of certain skill sets such as business or accounting. It’s a time-saving path to expertise. Part of IET is the school’s partnership with Express Employment Professionals of Corona. Its specialty is matching job-seekers with companies in need of employees. In Corona-Norco Adult School’s case, says principal Dr. Thoibi Rublaitus, “Express Employment arranges for our students with certificates in our Business Office Technology program to be given first consideration when applying for job openings at local businesses. “The goal is to get our students more jobs, using the skills training we have provided,” Rublaitus says. “Getting students on a path to getting jobs faster is a win-win for everybody.”
Riverside ABOUT STUDENTS Regional Consortium for Adult Education
Dr. Thoibi Rublaitus PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. THOIBI RUBLAITUS