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Joan Brack Adult Learning Center

Listing Last Update: October 22, 2018


7 Bishop Street
Framingham, MA 01702

Primary Contact

Gwenn O'Keefe

(508) 620-2679

Educational services

  • Reading and writing
  • Find a family literacy program
  • To study for high school equivalency
  • English language
  • Math
  • How to use Computers/Technology
  • Volunteer at a Program
  • Information about the GED Test
  • Citizenship Classes

Instruction Type

  • Classroom
  • Computer

File uploads

Program Overview

Based in Framingham Massachusetts, South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC) was organized in 1965 pursuant to Title II of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as part of the nation's "War on Poverty." SMOC is the sole federally designated anti-poverty organization in the region and the primary provider of housing and services in the MetroWest region for homeless families and individuals. SMOC is committed to moving this population towards economic independence and sustained self-sufficiency. SMOC is a nonprofit corporation with a 501(C)(3) federal tax designation; a federally designated Community Action Agency (CAA) for the MetroWest and Blackstone Valley regions; a statewide provider of low-income housing; and, a certified Ch.40H statewide Community Development Corporation (CDC).

The mission of the Joan Brack Adult Learning Center is to provide quality instruction in the areas of adult secondary education, high school equivalency test (HiSET/GED) preparation, English language and US culture, and general studies creating educational pathways to economic independence and personal enrichment for adults, young adults, and young parents.

Mission Statement

Founded in 1999 with the support of the Brack Family Foundation, the Joan Brack Adult Learning Center (JBALC) provides no cost Adult Secondary Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes during the day. Adult education classes are structured to ensure small class sizes and individualized instruction. This structure fosters strong one-on-one relationships between teachers and students, enhancing self-confidence and success. JBALC has been highly successful in supporting individuals, especially those served within the SMOC housing continuum, to obtain their HiSET and enter into post-secondary education, training or secure a better paying job. The Young Parent's Program is part of JBALC, and helps young parents under the age of 24, access a multitude of parenting services as well as HiSET/GED instruction. Both programs maintain a waitlist and boast successful outcomes for HiSET/GED attainment, ESL program completion and enrollment in training/post-secondary education or job acquisition.

Hours of operation: 10-3 Monday-Thursday

Student and Volunteer Success Stories

  • 172 JBALC students have earned their high school equivalency since JBALC's inception in 1992.
  • From 2010 through 2015, 14 students per year on average passed.
  • Since 2010, the ESL program has helped more than 350 students increase their confidence in speaking English and continues to grow with an average of 175 new applicants each year.
  • 45 students are served in Essential ESL Class each year.
  • Since 2013, more than 100 students have participated in at least one 12 week cycle and twenty-five students successfully completed the one year program.
  • Of the total students that completed one cycle, 70% completed a second cycle, 40% a third and 25% completed the one year program.
  • Since 2014, thirty students obtained a new or better paying job. 10 students moved onto HiSET classes, professional training, or college level classes. Basic ESL serves 25 basic literacy and low beginner students yearly, and overall 50 students have participated.
  • 100+ students have taken advantage of the Waitlist Class

Program’s Demographics/Metrics

Demographically, our clients vary but tend to be between the ages of 24-44, predominately female, 29% Hispanic, and 21% African American. Framingham has one of the highest concentrations of immigrants in Massachusetts, and JBALC sees a high percentage of immigrants from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Haiti. Many more are American born citizens whose first language is Spanish. Approximately 75% of all students at the Joan Brack Adult Learning Center were born in another country and speak another primary language.

Currently all JBALC classes are held at the SMOC Headquarters located at 7 Bishop Street, Framingham. The class is open to any low-income individuals residing in the MetroWest area. The majority of students reside in Framingham, Ashland and Marlborough.

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