María Luisa Castañeda joined the Funds in 2000. She oversees the Adult Education and Tuition Assistance Program, the Citizenship Program, the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and the Foreign Language Program.
María Luisa brings extensive personal and academic experience to her role, and has over 20 years of experience in education. She oversees programmatic services serving over 5,000 students per year, with more than 100 different classes every week at multiple locations throughout the New York City metropolitan area. María Luisa and the program team have developed over a dozen distinct curricula for the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds. These include How Are You Doing Today?, an ESL textbook designed specifically for home care workers; Citizenship and Beyond, to prepare home care workers for the US naturalization test; and Diploma, a book about the educational journey of 10 home care workers who obtained their high school equivalency diploma. Another publication, New Citizens: Telling Our Stories, was recognized by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2008. More recently, she developed ”The Language of Care,” a program in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Mandarin and Cantonese, that provides healthcare providers with the basic foreign-language skills necessary to communicate with their patients and families.
María Luisa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in her native country, Peru, and a Master’s degree in Language Teaching from the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College. She has also completed post-graduate work at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
María Luisa resides in New York City with her husband, a professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), and her teenage daughter, Solange.