Oklahoma City in recent years has witnessed a tremendous growth in the Spanish speaking population. Along with that the need for qualified ESL instructors. Recent local, state, and federal cutbacks have impacted the ESL industry in Oklahoma City to some extent, but many local business owners and corporate officials continue to see a demand for instructors that can assist their employees with English learning.
The city has seen a sharp growth in the construction and service sector. Many families, primarily of Mexican, Central American, and Southeast Asian origin have migrated to the sooner state in hopes of better wages and better working conditions. Many of these individuals may have had little to no English language training in the past. The recent passing of the “Official English” ballot, has had some impact on the availability of information printed in other languages, but has had little to no impact on the demand for English classes.
Organizations such as, “Community Literacy Centers, Inc” of Oklahoma City are private, non-profit establishments geared towards helping adults to read and providing ESL courses for anyone wishing to improve and enhance their skills. These organizations are supported 100% by private donations.
Although recent budget cuts have dampened other sectors, ESL courses still remain available free of charge to many employees. Companies have seen the need to provide a yearly budget proposal for its employees receiving courses. Many companies within the construction and service industry are willing to subsidize the cost of ESL courses provided by “Community Literacy Centers Inc.” of Oklahoma City.
A handful of charter schools within the state see a need to provide bilingual teaching assistance to its faculty. A few charters schools, especially located in areas south of Oklahoma City are predominately Spanish speaking. This is due to the fact that many families that have relocated to the sooner state have chosen to settle in these areas.
Such higher learning institutions as the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Central Oklahoma, have seen an increase within the last decades of foreign students wishing to pursue or finish their degrees here in the US. The cost for ESL courses at the college / university level can be exuberant, as much as $1700.00 per monthly session. Most US colleges and universities due require their international students to obtain a min. score on the TOEFL examination in order to be permitted to study there.
All in all, while many institutions struggle with budget cuts, the demand for English learning is striving forward. Obtaining fluency in English has been a priority that many families are eagerly pursing; in order to effectively integrate in this unique and historic melting pot we call the good old US of A.