Adult English Language Education


Non-native speakers of English form a substantial and increasing proportion of the adult population in the United States. According to the American Community Survey, over 20% of U.S. residents now speak a language other than English at home. Immigrant dispersion has expanded from 5 states to 40 states over the past 20 years. Adult non-native speakers thus form a critical segment of the overall adult population.

 As an international leader in the education of adults who are non-native speakers of English, CAL focuses on the language and cultural skills that these adults must develop to succeed in careers, continuing education, and the community. CAL’s expertise spans all proficiency levels, from ESL in adult basic education through English for business and professional purposes. CAL works with federal, state, and local agencies; institutions of higher education; and non-profit and for-profit private sector organizations to ensure that adults who speak English as an additional language have access to the educational opportunities they need to become fully engaged, empowered citizens.

CAL’s research-to-practice approach ensures that all project work is informed by current information on adult second language acquisition, adult learning outcomes, and best practices in the education of adults. CAL provides multiple forms of technical assistance to ensure that program design, instruction, materials, assessments, and policies all maintain a consistent focus on adult English learners’ success in education, the workplace, and the community. CAL’s experts also develop resources for practitioners and policymakers that are freely available for download.

CAL would be happy to discuss options for addressing the needs of your adult English learners.

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English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS)

EHLS  new logo

CAL designed and manages English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS), an intensive program that enables adult native speakers of critical languages to develop the English proficiency they need to succeed in professional positions in the federal government. EHLS is funded by the National Security Education Program and is conducted in partnership with Georgetown University.

Online Professional English Writing Program

CAL is working with the Center for Advanced Proficiency in English (CAPE) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) on a three-year project to provide online instruction in advanced English writing skills for federal personnel.

Federal Trade Commission Accessible Language Projects

CAL staff members have been working with the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission on a variety of accessible language projects. These projects are designed to increase the FTC’s ability to convey essential consumer protection and fraud prevention messages to readers with low levels of literacy in English. 

Bienvenidos Project

CAL provided technical assistance to the National Council of La Raza to provide vital services to NCLR’s network of affiliate organizations.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA)

The Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA), housed at CAL, was created to help states build their capacity to promote English language learning and academic achievement of adults learning English.



Improving the Quality of Instruction for Adult English Learners

CAL offers a variety of professional development and technical assistance services to enable practitioners to improve the quality of instruction offered to adults learning English so they are prepared for college, careers and citizenship. All CAL services build on evidence-based approaches and can be tailored to meet your needs and budget.

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