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Local News in Brief : Irvine : Firm to Be Honored for Aid to Latinos

An Irvine company that has been providing on-site English classes for Latino workers enrolled in the amnesty program will be honored today by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, along with 20 employees who have completed the course.

Howard Ezell, Western regional commissioner for the INS, was expected to attend a 2 p.m. ceremony at Cooper Industries/Kirsch Fabrication Center, a manufacturer of venetian blinds, to present the 20 workers with their course certificates.

The workers have already qualified for amnesty and now are completing a requirement that they take 60 hours of English and American history and government.

INS spokesman Ron Rogers said that Ezell wanted to thank the company for providing on-site classes for the workers “at a time when a lot of (English language) classes are full, and it is difficult for people to find places to take the classes.”

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Martha Eoff, a company spokeswoman, said the firm began holding classes at the plant about a year ago to help the employees complete their amnesty requirements.

“It’s to help them, but it helps us too, because we will be able to better communicate with them,” she said.

Eoff said the company picked up the costs of running the classes, which she estimated at $1,200 a month. The 20 people to receive certificates today bring to 45 the number of employees who have completed the course, she said.

Eoff said the firm employs about 335 people, of which 100 are amnesty applicants.

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