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A pathway to success runs through Lynn

Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Thomas McGee, Tracy Palandjian and Dan Cahill were some of the dignitaries who attended the English for Advancement program graduation. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — Andie Salvador loves her job and has already received a promotion, thanks to a training program tailoring English language learning with career advancement.

The Lynn resident was working in a local restaurant in 2017 when she saw a flyer advertising English for Advancement. She signed up for the three-month program, learned English and worked with a job coach to find a job. She was hired into an entry-level Salem Hospital position and subsequently promoted to patient observer helping to monitor patent wellbeing.

“I love it. I get to help people every day,” she said.

Salvador was one of nearly 40 English for Advancement graduates celebrated Monday at the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND) offices by Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Thomas M. McGee and other guests.

“Some of the students couldn’t join us today: That’s good news — they’re working,” said McGee.

English for Advancement is part of the state’s Pay for Success program, a collaboration between state government; workforce development agency Jewish Vocational Service, and Social Finance, a nonprofit initiative that found investors to provide money to pay for English for Advancement and similar programs across the state.

With support from LHAND and Lynn Economic Opportunity, English for Advancement has operated since March 2017 in the Curwin Circle housing complex. Salvador is one of 70 graduates from the program. The program hopes to more than triple that number through 2019.

More than 70 percent of graduates have landed jobs within six months of completing the program and Jewish Vocational Service CEO Jerry Rubin said the graduates have obtained jobs that increased their income, on average, by $10,000.

“This is the first Pay for Success program in the nation. When I talk to employers, I hear over and over again, ‘We need great people,'” Rubin said.

Baker said Pay for Success opens doors for graduates and is a “win for Lynn and a win for the Commonwealth because this can be replicated.”

Social Finance CEO Tracy Palanjian said investors initially finance Pay for Success and recover their investment in payments from the state based on the number of program graduates who land jobs and, like Salvador, receive promotions.

“With this unique partnership among impact investors, the Commonwealth, and JVS, we are helping immigrants get good jobs, improve their earnings and build their lives here in Lynn,” Palanjian said.

Rubin credited McGee with jumpstarting English for Advancement in January by launching “Learn More, Earn More,” a campaign to spread word of the program to local residents and make connections with potential employers.

 

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