There are two different types of English as a Second Language (ESL) courses a refugee can take: regular ESL or Vocational English as a Second Laungauge (VESL) through the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). Read below for a breakdown. 

Regular English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses can be found all across Sacramento. Two options for these classes are Highlands Community Charter Schools or adult schools. 

Highlands Community Charter Schools is an organization that has ESL classes, GED classes, and special career programs such as cosmetology and truck driving. With a wide range of ESL locations, there are multiple levels of English classes offered. Students at any HCCS locations must be: 

  • 22+ years old 

  • Not have a U.S. high school diploma 

  • Committed to attending classes Monday through Friday for 4 hours per day 

Learn more about Highlands Community Charter. 

Adult schools within the local school districts provide ESL classes for anyone over 18 years old. Some school districts refugee families are settled in are: Twin Rivers, San Juan, Folsom Cordova, and Sacramento City.  

Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) through the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA)
SETA is an organization that has many programs designed to assist people in finding employment. Within SETA, there is a refugee program that has Vocational ESL classes at multiple locations.

VESL is a type of ESL program that has two components: an English course and job search/training. This program teaches English classes with a focus on English used in work settings, building technical skills, and learning about American work culture.  

Some SETA approved VESL locations are: World Relief Sacramento, Bach Viet Association, Lao Family Community Development, Asian Resources and International Rescue Committee (IRC).  

If the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) refers a family member to the VESL program, they must enroll in a SETA approved VESL program. An individual can enroll in a non-SETA approved ESL location  (i.e. Highlands Community Charter School) with the DHA requirement, but they would also need to enroll in a SETA approved job search program. It is better to be enrolled in one location for both VESL components rather than two.