Thursday, May 23, 2024
State Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian, second from left, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, right, present certificates of recognition and citation from Gov. Deval Patrick on Oct. 16 to representatives from Cambridge Health Alliance.

State Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian, second from left, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, right, present certificates of recognition and citation from Gov. Deval Patrick on Oct. 16 to representatives from Cambridge Health Alliance.

From English for New Bostonians, Oct. 16: Cambridge Health Alliance, in partnership with the Cambridge Community Learning Center, was among 20 businesses and labor management partnerships honored this month by English for New Bostonians and its English Works Campaign at an event called Raising Our Voices: Recognizing ESOL Leadership in Business and the Community. The event honored those that have joined with government and the nonprofit sector to offer their immigrant workers the chance to learn English.

Also awarded was Somerville’s Royal Hospitality Services, in partnership with Worker Education Program.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian joined ENB for the Oct. 15 event at Northeastern University that included an audience of more than 200 state officials; business, labor and community leaders; and English as a second language students. ENB also announced 26 grants to English as a second language programs in Boston.

As a result of the 20 partnerships, a total of 869 workers have received an average of 131 hours of English as a second language 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 impact the English classes have on their employees and business operations.

“In partnership with The Cambridge Healthcare Worker Education Partnership, Cambridge Health Alliance celebrated the end of the fourth year of offering onsite Healthcare English and College Preparation classes this past June,” said Patrick Wardell, chief executive of Cambridge Health Alliance. “Many of the students who have participated have now enrolled in associates and bachelors degree programs. Recognizing the challenges of working, managing households and studying, we salute these staff for their commitment to their personal and professional development, as well as to providing outstanding care to patients.”

According to “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; three-quarters 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 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,” Walsh said. “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.”

“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,” Kaprielian said. “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.”

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 unionized health care workers. “Working adults have been able to go to school, maintain employment and climb the career ladders” said Enid Eckstein, a union vice president and fund trustee. “Certified nurses assistants have become registered nurses; entry-level clerical workers have become medical record coders. 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 also recognized the 26 community ESOL programs in Boston that were recently selected to get an ENB grant to provide ESOL classes for adult immigrants. Last year, ENB programs served 1,266 students hailing from more than 50 countries.

In addition to Cambridge Health Alliance, Royal Hospitality Services and 1199SEIU’s Training & Upgrading Fund, awardees were: 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; 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; Kayem Foods (Chelsea and Woburn); Legal Sea Foods (Boston) in partnership with JVS; MultiGrains (Lawrence) in partnership with Northern Essex Community College; Nypro (Clinton) in partnership with Clinton Adult Learning Center; 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; and Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Kitchen (Everett) in partnership with JVS.