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United Way brings resources and opportunities to people where they are.

Theogene Mahoro, English at Work Participant, Rhino Foods, Inc. 

“The first time I heard English was when I came to Vermont from Rwanda. My ears didn’t hear the words. I only spoke French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda. When I started work, my supervisors used signs and gestures language to explain my role at Rhino Foods. Through the English at Work program, I learned vocabulary specific to my work. Because I work with many new Americans, and many different languages are spoken, it’s very important that we can communicate in one language.
These classes helped me understand other people, speak clearly and be more confident. Now, I can talk with my children, who only want to speak English at home, and I don’t need an interpreter when I go to the hospital or to school to meet with a teacher.”

 

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT HOW WE ADVANCE EMPLOYMENT

Local manufacturing employers report that communication is a critical barrier in workplaces that employ non-English speaking Vermonters. Safety is compromised when staff cannot communicate effectively or understand safety instructions (such as words and language for what to do in case of fire). English language classes exist, but are often not available and /or accessible by working people.

English at Work improves communication between employers and employees, creating a safer, happier and more confident workforce with more opportunity for growth and advancement.

THE RESULT

  • Improved productivity, safety, customer service & communication
  • Increased opportunities for employee retention & promotion
  • Increase in employee confidence & precision
  • Improved communication between coworkers
  • Positive workplace culture

HOW WE’RE INVOLVED

United Way funds and convenes Working Bridges, an employer initiative which develops innovative strategies using the workplace to deliver human services for the benefit of both employee and business. English at Work, a pilot program developed by United Way, Vermont Adult Learning, and Community College of Vermont, delivers English language classes at local manufacturing worksites.

LEARN MORE: DOWNLOAD THE 2017 CASE FOR IMPACT

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