Education and Literacy

Education and literacy are vital to unlocking human potential.

Education & Literacy

Today’s job-seeking environment is so competitive, even the most knowledgeable and qualified applicants sometimes have difficulty finding a job. Imagine how much more challenging that becomes for those who lack the education, language, and literacy skills to even get a foot in the door. Enter the JVS Education & Literacy department, which helps many adults from across the community—including immigrants and refugees—gain the basic skills they need to successfully enter the workforce.

“My daughter and I came here from Ecuador, and I needed to learn English to get a job. The people at the church where we’re staying told me about JVS, and in just five months they’ve taught me English and helped me find a job at a coffee shop in Maplewood. I still have a lot to learn, but it’s like a miracle. Thank you JVS!”

–Maria Garcia, JVS Client

Whether you’re a newly-arrived refugee just learning to speak English, an immigrant working hard to prepare for the Citizenship Exam, or an American citizen looking to earn your High School Equivalency diploma, the JVS Education & Literacy department offers the resources, assistance, and classroom instruction to help you achieve your goals.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

The JVS Education & Literacy department offers three levels of instruction for English language learners. The highly interactive, practical program provides 12 hours of weekly instruction for a total of 120 class hours. Instructor-led classes are supplemented by individualized tutoring. Each course focuses on building the following skills necessary for daily living and work:

  • Basic conversation
  • Completing forms
  • Job-readiness
  • Writing sentences
  • Number sense

Beginner-level classes are in person at our East Orange location. Intermediate and Advanced classes are online by Zoom. Class level is determined by an English assessment given during the enrollment process. There is no cost to attend. Please call 862-704-2252 or email to register. Please have your Social Security card and additional forms of identification (Green Card, Passport, Employment Authorization, I-94) available when you call.

Class Schedule:

Summer Session July – September
Fall Session October – December
Winter Session January – March
Spring Session April – June

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

Our Education & Literacy department provides adult participants with 16 hours per week of instructor-led classes in the core skills of Reading, Writing and Math. Our ABE classes enable students to strengthen their skills in preparation for the High School Equivalency exam (HSE, formerly GED) and raise their Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) scores to be eligible for training programs and employment opportunities.

ABE classes are in-person at our East Orange location. There is no cost to attend. Registration and placement testing is by appointment only. To schedule your placement appointment, please email

Class Schedule:

Summer Session July – September
Fall Session October – December
Winter Session January – March
Spring Session April – June

Citizenship Exam Preparation

JVS offers classes to help Legal Permanent Residents prepare for the United States Citizenship Exam. The curriculum includes English instruction, American History, Civics, and the N400 application. Our Citizenship Exam Preparation classes also give students the chance to practice the 100 interview questions and participate in mock interviews.

Citizenship Exam classes are all online at this time, using Zoom and, in person at local public libraries. Classes are 4 hours per week for 10 weeks with varying schedules.  

There is no cost to attend—you must have a Green Card to enroll. For more information on the next available class or to enroll, please contact Lynn Sternstein at 862-704-2291 or

Refugee Services

JVS provides the following additional services to refugees, parolees, and political asylees:

  • Referrals for refugee cash assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid
  • Referrals to free or low-cost immigration legal services
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
  • Job search assistance

For assistance in Haitian Creole, contact:

Dorothy Laguerre,, 862.704.3706

Though often referred to as “basic skills,” they are the most important stepping stones to future success.