DOL Examines English Proficiency Project

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a report evaluating its Limited English Proficiency and Hispanic Worker Initiative project.The program was launched in 2006 with $4.9 million awarded to organizations in California, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Texas so they could test innovative strategies for delivering language and employment services to limited English proficient and Hispanic workers.

The findings highlight both challenges and successes of the pilot project, which will serve as a guide for similar future employment programs and provide insight for employers seeking to offer occupational skills to prepare workers for jobs in high-demand industries. According to the report, factors critical to the success of the program include active engagement by employers to adapt a curriculum tailored to meet their specific workplace requirements and employers’ ability to provide incentives for program completion to limited English-proficient and Hispanic program participants.

The report says employers must be involved in creating or adapting vocational English curricula, recruiting participants, and directing training activities. The report also notes that the English skills the participants gained improve both their chances of finding and retaining employment and their ability to interact with coworkers and community members.

“In all instances — and especially where the nation’s limited English proficient workers are concerned — effective communication and training are fundamental to creating job opportunities and maintaining overall global competitiveness for our workforce,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a news release. “This report on the Hispanic Worker Initiative pilot project is a valuable resource for every employer that partners with employees to create a program focused on the language and occupational skills necessary to ensure workplace safety and overall success.”

To read the report, go to http://wdr.doleta.gov/research/keyword.cfm?fuseaction=dsp_resultDetails&pub_id=2438&mp=y. For more information on the range of Department of Labor employment and training programs, visit http://www.doleta.gov.

About California Employment Law Letter:
Excerpted from California Employment Law Letter, and written by attorneys at the law firm of Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP.The contents of CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT LAW LETTER are intended for general information and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers in need of legal advice should retain the services of competent counsel. The State Bar of California does not designate attorneys as board certified in labor law. Contact the attorneys at Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP

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