Captains Charities, the nonprofit arm of the Lake County Captains, has provided funding to support an English as a Second Language (ESL) course at Lakeland Community College. The Captains are a Class-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
The noncredit course, first piloted in fall 2018, provides college-level ESL instruction that is structured to the specific needs of students whose first language is not English but who may be interested in pursuing a college degree.
"Although ESL classes are offered in the community, not all may provide the focused speaking and writing instruction needed to be successful in college," said David Murad, Professor of English at Lakeland. "Currently, students who need additional assistance enroll in developmental English, which focuses on helping improve reading comprehension and writing skills. However, that course is not designed to develop language skills for students whose first language is not English. We're thankful for the generous funding that the Captains Charities have provided so that we can make this course available to those whose goal is to earn a college degree or to those who, given language barriers, might not have thought that pathway possible."
Funds were used to hire an ESL instructor, and cover the test preparation and Accuplacer testing fees for each student. The Accuplacer test is a diagnostic tool that enables the college to place nonnative English speakers in the most appropriate course level.
The funding of this ESL program is an extension of the Captains' engagement with Spanish-speaking fans. With support from Minor League Baseball, the Captains continue to embrace and honor the local Hispanic and Latinx communities through programs like the "Copa de la Diversion," which rebranded the team as "Picantes de Lake County" for five games during the 2019 season. The team wore specially-designed jerseys and hats for each of these games featuring the Picantes name and fiery chili-pepper logo.
"The Lake County Captains and Captains Charities are excited to partner with Lakeland in support of the ESL program," said Jen Yorko, general manager for the Lake County Captains. "Partnering with this program will continue to open new opportunities and grow diversity in Lake County."
For more information about the program, call 440-525-7151or email firstname.lastname@example.org.