Boston, Oct. 15, 2014, – Today English for New Bostonians (ENB), and its English Works Campaign, held the event “Raising Our Voices: Recognizing ESOL Leadership in Business and the Community” to honor 20 businesses and labor management partnerships that have joined together with government and the non-profit sector to offer their immigrant workers the chance to learn English. Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian, joined ENB for the event at Northeastern University that included an audience of more than 200 state officials; business, labor and community leaders; and ESOL students. ENB also announced 26 new grants to ESOL programs in Boston.
“The City of Boston is a proud city of immigrants, and it is work by community partners, like English for New Bostonians, that makes Boston a more inclusive community,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We must continue to work collaboratively to increase the number of high-quality English language classes offered in Boston. By working with local programs and businesses, we will continue to increase economic opportunities, grow our workforce and promote Boston as a welcoming world-class city.”
According to the Investing in English Skills, a recent report by The Brookings Institution, there are 315,770 limited English proficient people, ages 16-64, just in Greater Boston; 75% of them are active in the workforce. The English Works Campaign offers a model to serve these workers by creating public-private partnerships and opportunities to learn at work.
“The Patrick Administration has made record investments in innovation, infrastructure and education such as these English language programs so that no worker is left behind in the economic development of the Commonwealth,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian. “Employers who participate in these workplace programs connect immigrants with good jobs that not only strengthen their workforce but also help make our economy grow.”
ENB and the English Works Campaign selected the 20 business partnerships that were nominated for their leadership in making English classes available for workers on the job. “We are pleased there were so many good examples to choose from,” said Claudia Green, Executive Director of ENB. “We commend the leadership by Massachusetts businesses who support training for all workers, including lower-skilled and limited English proficient workers. We also commend the unions, who, at the bargaining table and on the ground, have worked hard to institutionalize English classes and many other resources for their members. The ESOL providers —community organizations, community colleges and others—bring significant expertise and resources to bear—doing what they do so well: providing high-quality education and training programs for residents of the Commonwealth.”
As a result of the 20 partnerships, a total of 869 workers have received an average of 131 hours of ESOL instruction each, customized to their particular industries and work responsibilities. The businesses recognized include health care, hospitality, grocery chains, manufacturing and others.
The businesses honored stressed the great impact the English classes are having on their employees and their business operations. “The Kayem team has benefited greatly from the in house ESOL program we created with our Supervisors and ESOL Instructors,” said Kayem President Ralph Smith. “Team members feel more comfortable and confident contributing their ideas and several have been promoted to new positions since they started the program.” Kayem first secured a state grant to offer English classes to their workers in 2011, and has sustained them even after the grant ended.
Unions’ role in forging opportunities for their members to learn English was also highlighted. The 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading fund is a jointly negotiated fund covering 35 employers and 40,000 Massachusetts 1199SEIU health care workers. “Certified Nurses Assistants have become Registered Nurses; entry level clerical workers have become Medical Record Coders,” said Enid Eckstein, 1199SEIU Vice President and Fund Trustee. “Our members have dreams of going to school, climbing the career ladder and improving their ability to deliver care and creating lives for themselves, their families and communities. The fund makes dreams a reality”.
English for New Bostonians (ENB) also recognized the 26 community ESOL programs in Boston who were recently selected to receive an ENB grant to provide ESOL classes for over 1100 adult immigrants hailing from more than 50 countries and speaking over 25 languages.
- 1199SEIU Training & Upgrading Fund – Labor/Management Healthcare Workforce Partnership (Boston, Lawrence, Malden, Springfield)
- Accutech Packaging (Foxboro) in partnership with Bristol Community College
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston) in partnership with JVS
- Boston Children’s Hospital (Boston) in partnership with JVS
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) in partnership with JVS
- Brooksby Village (Peabody) in partnership with North Shore Community College
- Cambridge Health Alliance (Cambridge) in partnership with Cambridge Community Learning Center
- Churchill Linen Services (Brockton) in partnership with Massasoit Community College
- East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (Boston) in partnership with YMCA International Learning Center
- Egleston and Hyde Jackson Square Main Streets (Boston) in partnership with YMCA International Learning Center
- Greater Boston Hospitality Employers and UNITE HERE Local 26 Partnership (Greater Boston) in partnership with BEST Corp. Hospitality Training Center
- Kam Man Food (Quincy) in partnership with Quincy Asian Resources, Inc.
- Kayem Foods, Inc. (Chelsea and Woburn)
- Legal Sea Foods (Boston) in partnership with JVS
- MultiGrains, Inc. (Lawrence) in partnership with Northern Essex Community College
- Nypro, Inc. (Clinton) in partnership with Clinton Adult Learning Center
- Royal Hospitality Services, Inc. (Somerville) in partnership with Worker Education Program
- South End Community Health Center (Boston) in partnership with United South End Settlements
- Stop and Compare Supermarkets (Chelsea and Lynn) in partnership with Mujeres Unidas Avanzando
- Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Kitchen (Everett) in partnership with JVS
This event has been made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors:
English for New Bostonians’ mission is to increase access to high-quality English language learning opportunities for adult immigrants. English Works is a statewide, multi-stakeholder campaign calling upon business, labor, community and government leaders to dedicate the needed public and private resources to create a sustainable, high-quality English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) system that addresses the needs of immigrants, their employers and the Commonwealth.