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Workers' Education Program

Learn More, Earn More

As a key part of the Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center, the Workers' Education Program (WEP) was created and is supported by the Labor Education Center. The program began in 1986, to bring English classes to union Needle Trades workers in their factories and has grown steadily since.  This program offers free Adult Basic Education classes funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. These classes have included Citizenship, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and General Educational Development (GED). Over the years, the WEP has offered classes in factories, union halls, and community centers in the New Bedford and Fall River areas. 

In the news

Mission Statement

To provide each and every adult with opportunities to develop literacy skills needed to qualify for further education, job training, and better employment, and to reach his/her full potential as a family member, productive worker, and citizen.

Some Important Facts about the WEP

We are a Tier One Adult Basic Education Program: The WEP isone of only three programs in the state's 100 plus programs to maintain consistently high performance in all areas including Attendance, Average Attended Hours, Pre/Post Assessment Administration, Learner Gains, Student Goals, and Level Completion.  Students attended 46,530 hours of classes last year.
We have earned Excess of $4 Million in grants and contracts.  These funds have provided hundreds of classes to adult learners allowing them to develop literacy skills needed to qualify for further education, job training, and better employment, and to reach their full potential as family members, productive workers, and citizens. 
We are a service learning placement site.  More than 80 UMass Dartmouth undergrad students have completed service learning at the WEP.  They volunteer in our program and work with our teachers and students as teaching assistants.  Currently, we have 6 university students working in this capacity.

Our workplace education programs help area companies and workers improve language, literacy, communication, and problem solving skills essential for survival in today's global economy.  The WEP has extensive experience in all phases of workplace education including grant writing and reporting, workplace needs analysis, assessment, and contextualized curriculum development. Past partners include Esterline-Kirkhill TA/Haskon Division/UE, A.J. Wright Distribution Center/UNITE HERE, Brandon Woods Nursing Home/1199SEIU, and Stop & Shop Distribution Center/Teamsters. 
The Workers' Education Program goals are: to develop communication, reading, writing, and computer skills to increase knowledge of workers' rights to develop skills which may lead to job placement, retention, or advancement. As our adult learners work towards these goals, they develop increased self-esteem. They become more confident and better able to participate in their classes, children's schools, unions, jobs, and communities.
Some ways that unions can participate in supporting WEP

  1. Helping place students in good jobs through contact with the program about open positions
  2. Referring union members to the Hi-Set classes, formerly GED, to earn their high school diploma 
  3. When the grant cycle is open, working directly with WEP and company management to offer classes in your workplace 

The working people of this area founded this university. The Workers' Education Program is for these very same people. Our staff and teachers look forward to continuing to bring the resources of the state and university to the Greater New Bedford and Fall River communities.


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