Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Dr. Raj Singh
Spanish is the second-largest speaking language in the United States, and while many government agencies have developed programs to help immigrants learn English, little is known about how program participants perceive the programs in terms of utility in transitioning to life in America or the usefulness of skills learned. Using Blalock's racial power-threat theory as the foundation, the purpose of this general qualitative study was to examine the perceptions of one such program in a mid-Atlantic city specifically oriented toward Spanish speaking immigrants. Data were collected from 15 adults, Spanish speaking program facilitators and a review of publicly available documentation related to the program. These data were inductively coded and subjected to a thematic analysis procedure. The primary theme of this study is that program participation is valuable and useful in cultural acclimation, but the programs are difficult to find within the local government structure. Generally speaking, it was determined that power-threat theory may explain the perceived lack of accessibility of the programs to some extent. Recommendations resulting from this study include advice to local government decision-makers about expanding outreach and staging of programs in order to increase participation, thereby supporting positive social change in better accommodating the needs of a diverse population of residents.