TBICO and WERACE Team-Up to Empower ESL Student Population

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TBICO and WERACE Team-Up to Empower ESL Student Population

By Angela Barbosa

A four-month partnership between services provided by The Bridge to Independence and Career Opportunities (TBICO) and Western Connecticut Regional Adult and Continuing Education (WERACE) offered 20 participants a class that combined English language instruction, civics education, workforce readiness and job-training skills.

“The funding for the program was provided through a federal Program Enhancement Project federal grant. This is the first year since 2011 that WERACE has had the grant to offer the program,” explained Jody Huzina, Program Facilitator.

According to Huzina, TBICO provided the students access to the Career Resource Center, facilitated employability and financial literacy workshops and trainings, and workshops in preparation for the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation Customer Service & Sales Professional Credential, with all 20 participants receiving a certificate. TBICO also facilitated the delivery of the certification test for the credential.

“WERACE determined that the need to provide extended learning opportunities to our advanced ESL population was critical. Developing an Integrated English Language/Civics program was essential to serving the growing ESL population in the Danbury area,” said Hunzinga, adding,  “ESL learners need education surrounding how to find and maintain employment, attain citizenship, be more involved in their children’s education and make greater use of community resources,” she added.

For Cecilia Veiga, WERACE Adult ESL Program Coordinator, it was a heartfelt Awards Ceremony of Integrated English Learners/CIVICS/Customer Services. “The students were from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, Korea and Cuba,” she shared.

Veiga explained that as an assignment, the students prepared and gave a speech in English rather than in their native tongue. “They spoke from the heart, thanking profusely TBICO and WERACE for the opportunity to participate in this first class of IEL/Civics with a nationally recognized certificate in Customer Services. They studied hard, sacrificing time with their families to attend a special intense class, three hours a day, Monday through Thursday. We hope to have more graduates in the future.”


Western Connecticut Regional Adult and Continuing Education (WERACE) is located at 10 Crosby St in Danbury. It is a regional program that provides FREE State mandated Adult Education services to adults 17 years of age and older. It provides a full range of free adult education programs, including high school completion, GED preparation and ESL instruction, to adults who live in the towns of Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield.

WERACE programs address basic literacy needs and teach the necessary skills to transition to higher education, training or employment. The mission of WERACE is to promote learning as a lifelong process. We strive to provide learners with the necessary tools to be successful citizens, workers, family members and parents in today’s world.

For more information, please call 203.797.4731.


The Bridge to Independence and Career Opportunities (TBICO) is a resource center for individuals and families seeking to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency through employment, financial literacy and stable housing.

For more information, visit http://www.tbicoworks.org/


Twenty students graduated on June 04, 2018 from WERACE’s Integrated English Learners/CIVICS/Customer Services program

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June 20, 2018

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