English for New Bostonians (ENB) and its English Works Campaign recently held the “Raising Our Voices: Recognizing ESOL Leadership in Business and the Community” breakfast, where they honored nine businesses and labor/management partnerships that have joined with government and non-profit agencies to offer their immigrant workers the chance to learn English at work. Included in the honorees were Corcoran Management Company and Home Market Foods in partnership with Massasoit Community College.
Ronald L. Walker II, MA Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development and John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston, over 180 state officials, business, labor and community leaders, and ESOL students attended the breakfast, which was emceed by Alberto Vasallo, III, President and CEO of El Mundo Boston.
“Small business owners understand the business proposition of helping their workers learn English. It helps their productivity, and improves the companies’ ability to compete,” said Secretary Walker. “We are finding ways to better connect with the small business community to help them get ESOL training for their workers.”
The business leaders honored at the breakfast stressed the tangible impact of English classes on their employees and their business operations. “Clear communication is essential in our work as property managers,” says President of Corcoran Management Co., Richard J. High, “whether it is with co-workers, vendors, or, perhaps most importantly, our residents.” High said, “The significant improvement we see in the abilities and confidence of those who participated in our ESOL training is due to their hard work and dedication and is also a tribute to the well-designed program and skilled staff of Massasoit Community College and support of Commonwealth Corporation and the Workforce Training Fund Program.”
“Home Market Foods continues to invest in sophisticated manufacturing technologies and processes,” said owner Wes Atamian. “As a result, we have found that the ability to communicate effectively in English has become increasingly critical to the success of our operation.” But employees learning English has a larger impact, said Atamian. “Equally important, we believe that these skills significantly enhance the contribution our employees can make to our society beyond Home Market Foods. Offering ESOL classes represents an investment in the company, our people and our communities.”