In 1962, a group of Mexican laborers gave a different meaning to the concept of building a community-based organization. Realizing the need for education and job training, these self-starting, community activists established the “Centro Social Obrero,” which later became the Mission Language and Vocational School (MLVS) in 1968.
The 35,000-square-foot facility, located at 2929 19th Street, was converted from a warehouse to a fully functioning school. In 1965, MLVS pioneered the Bay Area’s first Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) program. After incorporation in 1971, the school was able to purchase the building and expand its instructional programs. Throughout the 1970s, MLVS was a member of the Mission Coalition, a group of 150 grassroots organizations working together to improve the quality of education, healthcare, and other services for neighborhood residents.
Today, MLVS offers programs in the fields of healthcare, culinary arts, and clerical, and its facilities have expanded to include twenty classrooms, a testing unit, administrative offices and a media center, fully equipped computer and medical office simulation classrooms, kitchen facilities for culinary classes, and a multi-purpose computer center.