Butler Community College has partnered with the Wichita Indochinese Center to expand the school's English as a Second Language and Adult Education courses.
The new partnership was formed to make it easier for English language learners at the Indochinese Center to transition into college- and career-prep courses at Butler.
Sherry Watkins is the director of adult education at Butler and also recently became the new director of the Wichita Indochinese Center, located near Douglas and Grove in central Wichita.
“We felt like maybe merging those two programs would allow us to reach more potential individuals that are looking to improve their skills," she says. "We’d be able to offer a wider variety of tools and programming and locations in the region.”
Watkins says the partnership has created a seamless, unified program.
"If someone is there learning English, once they get to a certain proficiency in English, they're able to bridge over to our college and career course," she says. "We have an instructor that works with English language learners to get their skills up to an even higher level so that they can be career- or college-ready."
Students can take tuition-free courses at the center, or at one of Butler’s locations.
Watkins says she believes adult education centers in Kansas aren't reaching as many people as they could. Together Butler and the Indochinese Center serve about 450 students, and Watkins says she hopes the new partnership will grow that number.
"We're trying to get the word out and let people know that they can come learn English, they can improve their skills so that they can go to college, they can get a high school diploma, they can get a better career," she says. "All of those are so important."
The Indochinese Center was founded in 1985 to assist refugees from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Today it serves students from nearly 20 countries who speak more than 25 languages.
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