Montgomery College to Receive Federal Grant for Citizenship Education Program

Montgomery College has been selected to receive a $100,000 grant as part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Fiscal Year 2010 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. Montgomery College is one of 75 organizations from 27 states and the District of Columbia to receive a total of $7.8 million in grant funding to promote citizenship education and immigrant integration in communities across the country.

Through this grant program, USCIS seeks to expand citizenship preparation programs for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to ensure that those committed to the goal of U.S. citizenship receive the support they need to be successful. Increased opportunities and additional resources in communities will help LPRs improve their English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history and government as they prepare for citizenship.

“A wonderful byproduct of this USCIS grant program is that classes are free of charge to anyone who registers,” said Donna Kinerney, instructional dean, Workplace Development and Continuing Education, and the program lead. “Naturalization is a costly process and in this economy, folks are struggling to make ends meet. And the classes will be for those at the lowest language and literacy levels, making it possible for everyone to achieve the dream of becoming an American citizen.”

The classes will focus on the civics content needed to pass the citizenship exam, and will also focus on the English language skills that applicants will need to pass the interview. Volunteers will work alongside instructors in the classroom and will also offer the students one-on-one help. In addition to the classroom instruction, students will be required to take the English and civics skills they have learned outside of the classroom and into the community. Program director, Nancy Newton, foresees students not only passing the citizenship exam and interview, but also becoming involved in the community, and as a result, having their family and friends become involved integrating more people into community and civic life.

For additional information on the FY 2010 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, please see www.uscis.gov/grants.

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