In the following year, in response to a growing need for language training for immigrant women, English Unlimited incorporated as a non-profit organization, gained charitable status and received funding from Canada Employment and Immigration Commission to provide the first Settlement Language Training Program in the Atlantic Region, with a focus on immigrant women and their pre-school aged children. At the time, classes were available for immigrant men (“heads of households”) at Bloomfield School.
English Unlimited had three classes with about fifteen students per class. Gerry Mills was hired to teach a literacy level class. Students came from China, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Eritrea and elsewhere. Many of the students were refugees and some were refugee claimants. As well as the three teachers (Jennifer, Kathy and Gerry) there were two childcare workers, who cared for the children while their parents (usually mothers) were in language training.
In 1990 English Unlimited changed its name to Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre (HILC) to more accurately reflect the mandate of the organization. That year, Gerry Mills became Executive Director.
The organization moved to St. Joseph’s Church on Russell Street and began to provide settlement language training and childcare to all immigrants and in addition, developed programs targeted for newcomer parents, entrepreneurs and youth. Language training, as a service to immigrants and also as a profession, was still new to Nova Scotia.