According to officials at Columbia Basin College in Pasco and Yakima Valley College, students are not taking what are called English Language Acquisition courses.

Since last March, CBC has seen those numbers drop by at least 60%. The courses are designed to help various ethnic groups learn or sharpen their English skills to help them in school, jobs and society.

They're among the most affordable classes offered, only $25 per quarter. These trends are alarming many CBC and YVC officials and educators.

YVC’s Ericka Tollefson, ELA instructor, said in their information release:

“Whether it’s opening up job opportunities, preparing for college level work, or for personal needs, improving your English can create new possibilities and help students achieve their goals."

Officials have not said if they know why the numbers are dropping, but suspect the distance learning and other obstacles presented by COVID-19 at the collegiate level are largely responsible.

CBC released this information about students, language spoken at home, and more:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Communities Survey, 41.2% of households are speaking a language other than English at home in Yakima County, with the numbers in Kittitas and Klickitat Counties at 8.9% and 11.7% respectively. In Benton and Franklin Counties, the numbers are 21% and 48.7% respectively."

CBC officials stress the need for these students to keep pursuing these courses, and offered these details about them:

  • CBC is offering in-person appointments and quiet study spaces and wi-fi on campus    Call 509-542-4701 to get started.
  •   ELA classes are offered in the morning, early afternoon and evening throughout the year.
  •   Email contact: ela@columbiabasin.edu
  •  Varying levels of instruction are offered to serve a range of English skill levels, whether you have no prior experience or are nearly ready for college-level work.

As you go through life in the Tri-Cities, here's some images about it.

Life in Tri-Cities as Told by 12 Stock Photos