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News Specialist Jed Boal reportingThe Mexican government today reached across the border to help launch an adult education program in Salt Lake City.
The goal is to make sure all Spanish-speaking people get a basic education.
The USA Computer Center has taught hundreds of Hispanics computer skills during the last 15 years, helping open up new job opportunities.
Today, the Mexican Consulate joined the center to start an adult education program that offers literacy and a high school diploma to thousands.
There are 300,000 Hispanics in Utah. As many as 80,000 could benefit from the programs.
"I think we're going to be surprised to see a great need for the program," says Joe Menna, director for USA Computer Center.
Initial classes on reading and writing will be offered to 50 to 100 Hispanics.
The consulate provides the textbooks, tapes and trainers, and the system and certificates for diplomas.
It wants Mexicans abroad to have the tools they need to progress. That begins with education in their own language.
"If we want somebody to learn English, we cannot expect that person to learn it if they don't know how to read and write in their own language. So we teach them to read and write in Spanish," says Martin Torres with the Mexican Consulate.
Once they learn English, they can move on to computer skills.
"This new program will help improve access to education for a valuable, yet badly underserved portion of our community," says Mayor Rocky Anderson.
The objective of this new partnership between the consulate and the computer center is to help people help themselves to a better quality of life.