RALEIGH, N.C. (May 19, 2015) - Wake Tech hosted Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration for the U.S. Department of State, at its Beltline Education Center today. Her visit was part of a multi-stop tour of refugee resettlement systems and support services across North Carolina and the nation.
Assistant Secretary Richard visited Wake Tech ESL classrooms and sat with students as they worked on word recognition activities to improve literacy. She toured a computer lab serving refugees and other English language learners, and heard first person accounts of resettlement from students in a focus group discussion.
The visit concluded with remarks from Ms. Richard and members of the NC Office of Refugee Resettlement; the audience included resettlement services staff from across the state as well as refugees now living and thriving in North Carolina. Ms. Richard spoke about her visits to war-torn nations and what it means for people to have a chance to start over in the U.S. Aldona Wos, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, shared her personal story – how she and her family fled their native Poland during World War II, and the challenges of trying to assimilate into U.S. culture as a child.
“We appreciate the opportunity to host this event,” said Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen Scott, “to highlight the work we are doing with our partner agencies to help men and women change their lives and the lives of their families.”
Wake Tech has worked in partnership with refugee resettlement agencies for years to help students build English language skills, prepare for high school equivalency testing, and complete career training programs for high-demand jobs in Wake County. In 2014 Wake Tech’s ESL program received a grant of $65,000 from the Wake County Refugee Outreach Literacy Project. The project is federally funded and managed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services and the State Office of Refugee Resettlement Assistance Programs. Grant funds assist with bus passes and other transportation services so students can attend classes, study-at-home materials for those who cannot get to class, and translation and advising services. Since July 2014, Wake Tech has screened 150 students from 21 countries who are refugees or asylees, or who have Special Immigrant visas.