Welcome to the SAVES Program

The political, economic, and civil unrest in the world impact the United States, as it embraces refugees and asylees by opening its doors to provide a safe haven and opportunities for a better life. A large number of Cubans has entered the United States as a result of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Also, a great number of Haitians has been arriving through the years and especially after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. Other countries have equally been impacted by terrorism, dictatorships, civil wars, human trafficking, and famine. As countries are negatively impacted by these events, refugees and asylees seek protection and opportunities in the United States. Due to the geographic location of the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County, most of the refugees and asylees resettle in South Florida and Miami-Dade County. As a result, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has been and continues to be heavily impacted. The M-DCPS Skills for Academic, Vocational, and English Studies (SAVES) program, first established in 1996, became a critical support for those refugees.

The SAVES program is sponsored by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Refugee Services Program, and is funded solely with grants from the U.S. Department of Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. SAVES was established to address the specific English language, academic, and vocational needs of the refugee/asylee/parolee population; therefore,    English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE) courses, English Literacy for Career and Technical Education (ELCATE) curricula, Citizenship classes, General Education Development (GED), as well as other high priority Vocational/ Technical courses, were developed to meet the needs of this population. The SAVES program also offers the GED Success Management Academy (SMA) in Spanish program, created to provide the opportunity for refugee/asylee/parolee students between 16-18 years of age to obtain their High School Diploma while learning the English language. The SAVES SMA program is offered at eight high schools throughout Miami-Dade County.

SAVES initially served refugees, asylees, and paroles from Cuba and Haiti. It extended its services to include all refugees and asylees from all over the world, in February 2001. SAVES is serving clients from Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the Republic of Congo, Eritrea, and many other countries. In addition, services are provided to eligible clients who are deaf or hard of hearing, clients who are in need of an interpreter or other communication assistance, and clients who are certified victims of human trafficking.  Services are limited to five (5) years from the clients’ official entry date in the U.S. or the date of eligibility for the program. M-DCPS studies indicate that SAVES students have a better performance, retention, and promotion rate than the general adult student population in the school district. SAVES continues to prioritize direct student services, including ESOL and vocational/technical classes.

Prospects for the SAVES program are identified and interviewed using program-specific intake forms. Once legal eligibility requirements are met for program participation, instructional needs and individual client vocational goals are established. English language instruction is emphasized. Classes are offered through 14 adult educational centers and technical colleges throughout Miami-Dade County to better serve clients. In addition, in order to make the program more accessible to all prospective clients in the County, SAVES   offers vouchers for students to attend any adult education centers and vocational/technical colleges in Miami-Dade County.

Contract YearClients
2021 – 2022 2858
2020 – 2021 959
2019 – 2020 1742
2018 - 20192562
2017 - 20184258
2016 - 20178610
2015 - 20168926
2014 - 20156794

The SAVES program is sponsored by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Refugee Services Program, and is funded solely with grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

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