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The Department of Social Work has received second-year funding for an AmeriCorps program aimed at helping immigrants become self-sufficient.

The department received $337,471 from the N.C. Commission on National and Community Service and the Corporation for National Service for the AmeriCorps Cross-Cultural Education Service Systems project, which helps immigrants gain better access to services and get adjusted to life in North Carolina. About 20 community agencies are providing an additional $108,000 to support the project.Each agency that uses an ACCESS member contributes $3,600 to the project for a full-time worker or $1,800 for a part-time worker. Five local grassroots organizations participating in the project will receive help in paying their portion of the fee from a United Way of Greensboro grant of $25,000. The United Way awarded UNCG the grant on behalf of the Bryan Foundation.

About 40 AmeriCorps members will work with immigrants in communities throughout the state. The services they will offer include transportation, translation, training in English as a second language, citizenship training, human service and education referrals, tutoring and after-school programming, cultural education, and community development and organization.

``This project is an example of our department's continuing commitment to reaching out to refugees and immigrants in North Carolina,' said Dr. John Rife, an associate professor of social work and the project's principal investigator.

At least half of the ACCESS project workers will be working with immigrants from their own ethnic group, said Dr. Raleigh Bailey, a visiting assistant professor of social work who is the project director.

The project members began work Sept. 1 and will continue until Aug. 31, 1999. Full-time members, who will complete 1,700 hours of service during the year, will receive a monthly stipend of $693; part-time members will complete 900 hours during the year and will receive about $350 a month. Members who complete the project also will receive educational vouchers.

ACCESS project members also will receive cross-cultural training certification from the Department of Social Work.

Members will receive training in English as a second language, cross-cultural conflict resolution, immigration law and other subjects, Rife said.

The ACCESS project will branch out this year to provide family violence prevention services. The department has received preliminary approval for state funding for this effort, which will be coordinated by Dr. Jacalyn Claes, an assistant professor of social work.


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