Helping Immigrants Learn English

The story of Eden Prairie over the last 40 years is one of tremendous change, with garden farms and gravel pits transformed almost overnight into neighborhoods, shopping centers, and office parks.

The other dramatic change isn’t to the landscape but to the populace. Once predominantly white and English-speaking, Eden Prairie is now much more diverse – with 70 languages spoken in its public schools.

Helping immigrant students and adults adapt to a new way of life is a priority for the Eden Prairie Community Foundation, evidenced by two years of granting to the adult basic education classes offered at Hennepin Technical College in Eden Prairie.

The $6,000 granted by the Community Foundation has helped Metro South Adult Basic Education leverage the purchase of approximately 45 Chromebook laptop computers used in HTC classes that help teach English to mostly adult immigrants who live in Eden Prairie and nearby.

“It is so nice to use the Chromebooks in class,” said Elena, one of the ESL students, “because we are getting not just English knowledge, [but] also knowledge how to work with a computer, [the] Internet, sites, and different computer programs – which is so important for different kinds of jobs and modern life in general.”

“I don’t believe that we would have had Chromebooks at HTC without the Foundation’s support,” said Mike Larson, Metro South’s technology coordinator. “We wouldn’t have been able to achieve the critical mass we needed to begin this project without it. The Foundation’s support in beginning and continuing this project will directly touch many hundreds of students, and indirectly will positively impact hundreds of families.”

Staying abreast of the major issues faced by people who live and work in Eden Prairie is part of what sets the Community Foundation apart from other nonprofits. Is there a community issue or trend that you wish to bring to the Foundation’s attention? Contact Mark Weber, executive director, at mweber@epcommunityfoundation.org or (952) 949-8499.

Mark Weber About the Author Mark Weber has been the executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation since October 2013. In this role, he enjoys meeting with Eden Prairie residents, and being an active member of the community. If you’d like to connect with Mark, call him at (952) 949-8499 or email him. You can also read Mark’s full biography.

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8080 Mitchell Road
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