Awards for Leadership in ESOL Programs Announced

Among the many tough choices facing the newly arrived in the U.S. is this: Find a job quickly to support the family or enroll in an English class to get a better start. And when the years of working hard and raising the family stretch on, the choice gets no easier. For many, a class to learn English at work may be the only chance to broaden their opportunities. Employers that opt to offer English classes on the job are creating a win-win: Boosting their own bottom line and helping to dramatically improve the lives of their employees, both economically and socially.

“It helped me a lot – to talk to my supervisor and, at home, to help my son with homework,” said Ana Romero, a packaging processer and English language learner at Piantedosi Baking Company in Malden.

In support and celebration of immigrants and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programs, English for New Bostonians (ENB) and its statewide English Works Campaign will host a leadership breakfast on October 17 at Northeastern University to honor businesses that have shown leadership by providing English classes in the workplace.

The businesses to be honored are Sidekim Foods (Lynn), MilliporeSigma (Danvers), United Electric Controls (Watertown), and Piantedosi Baking Company (Malden). One consortium of childcare business owners organized by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. will also receive an award. Lastly, Senator James Eldridge from the Middlesex and Worcester District, will be presented with the Agent of Change Award, in recognition of his leadership on state funding for ESOL, and four students, who were nominated by community-based program providers, will be recognized as “Rising Stars.”

The morning event, “Raising Our Voices,” will be kicked off by an interactive discussion with panelists who each bring a unique perspective on the effect of ESOL in the workplace and in our communities. The panel, facilitated by El Mundo President Alberto Vasallo, includes: Rosalin Acosta, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor; Paul Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation; Jimmy Liang, President and CEO of JP Fuji Group; and Frances LaRoche, Program Director of Educational Development Group.

“By working to advance access to English language programs in the workplace these businesses are helping to ensure that our growing immigrant populations can thrive in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Secretary Acosta.

“We hope ‘Raising Our Voices’ will provide inspiration, which is something we all need right now. The voices of ESOL students, elected officials, and business owners remind us how important immigrants are to our workplaces and communities. We hope attendees will leave the event and feel moved to raise their own voice in support of immigrant communities and the ESOL programs that lift up one of our country’s greatest assets,” said Claudia Green, ENB’s Executive Director.

The event was made possible through the generous support of many supporters including C&W Services.

You can register for the breakfast at

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