Workforce: A Top

ESL Workforce: A Top-Down
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An abundance of information
Workplace literacy assessment tools
This paper examines the appropriateness of three frequently used literacy-related assessment
tools for workplace basic skills training. Each test is reviewed under three categories - test
content, test development, and test usability. A section on workplace literacy requirements is also
From the classroom to the workplace: teaching ESL to adults
Guidelines for teaching English as a second language (ESL) are directed at teachers and teacher
trainees. With an emphasis on teaching ESL quickly and efficiently to adults, the six chapters
address teaching ESL to competencies, teaching ESL to non-literate adults, vocational ESL, ESL
instruction in the workplace, teaching ESL in the multilevel classroom, and coordinating and
training volunteer tutors. Teaching methods, program designs, objectives, materials, and testing
are among the topics considered. Each chapter includes suggested resources and reading. The
appendix provides an outline of generic concerns and specific models for adult ESL. The six
models presented are ESL for survival, literacy, basic skills, general vocational, occupationspecific, and home management.
Assessing workplace performance problems: a checklist
A framework used in business training for assessing workplace performance problems and suggesting solutions is a useful tool for providers of
English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) workplace language programs to determine what they can and can not provide, and how to provide
services cost-effectively. The first step is to determine the performance discrepancy (difference between what is being done and what should
be done) and whether it results from skill deficiency. If a skill deficiency exists, it should be decided whether (1) the worker could perform the
task in the past, (2) the skill is used often, (3) there is a simpler solution, and (4) the worker has the ability to do the task. When a skill
deficiency does not exist, assessment should focus on whether (1) the desired performance is punishing in some way, (2) there are obstacles
to performing, (3) performance is valued. At this point, one or more solutions may have been identified, and the final step is to determine which
is most feasible within that context.
Classrooms in the workplace
This monograph provides information about small and medium-sized workplace literacy programs and to contribute an assessment of their
effectiveness. The monograph uses case study and survey data evidence to address the extent of need for workplace literacy programs; the
incidence of these programs; how they are characterized; how effective are workplace literacy programs; and is there a role for public policy
encouragement or regulation of such programs?
What makes a successful workplace education program?
This qualitative study sought to find some of the answers to what has worked and not worked and why, in program delivery for workplace
literacy. Participants in six workplace literacy programs described the major events and activities that are involved in developing and sustaining
basic skills training. These program profiles are briefly sketched out here with a discussion of some of the critical factors that can lead to
successful programming.
Workplace literacy programs for nonnative English speakers
Workplace-based educational programs are not new. Recent perceptions of a national literacy crisis and the need for a competitive workforce,
however, have resulted in the development of new programs across the country, many of which provide literacy and language training for
nonnative English speakers. This digest focuses on the reasons for initiating workplace programs; types and essential features of programs;
importance of conducting a needs assessment in order to determine appropriate curricula, materials, and teaching approaches; ways to design
programs, construct curricula, and choose materials; and learner assessment.
Workplace ESL instruction: varieties and constraints
Changes in the U.S. economy are altering employment patterns, and these changes have implications for workers whose language is other
than English. This digest summarizes the existing types of programs that prepare English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) adults for the
workplace or help workers whose first language is other than English who are already on the job. First, the meanings of "workplace language
instruction" are discussed (pre-workplace classes, "work-centered" approaches, "worker-centered" approaches.) Next, current perspectives on
workplace learning are highlighted. The final section of the digest looks at constraints on ESL workplace program development, focusing on
needs assessment, assessment measures, participant attitudes and expectations, enrollment management, language choice, financial and
organizational support, building coalitions, and decentralization.
This site was created to help U.S. organizations' measure and demonstrate the relationship between their workplace
education investments, including workplace basic skills, and measures of organizational performance. By navigating
this site, you will gain knowledge, skills and tools to help you measure workplace education effectiveness and to tie
workplace education to business strategies via a balanced scorecard approach. The site addresses workplace basic
skills, technical skills and soft skills assessment and instruction.
Developing and delivering effective workplace programs: how do we do it?
While there are many steps in designing a workplace literacy program, the overall process can be divided into two key
steps: you must first sell your product to the business community; then, you must manage the product you have sold.
This article from the Pennsylvania ABLE handbook, gives workplace literacy program managers ideas for how to
develop and deliver an effective workplace literacy program.
Workplace education program profiles in adult education
Highlights six workplace education program models that are worthy of consideration or consultation for continuous
improvement purposes. The description of each program presents a program overview, funding source and level,
learners and employers served, key program design components, and the results of the program. Each program
demonstrates the following characteristics: significant quantifiable learner gains that are measured through
standardized assessments and related measures for impact on the workplace; workplace-related instruction; a
foundational skills component customized to a specific workplace; and employer involvement as a full partner.
Whatever happened to workplace literacy?
The National Workplace Literacy Program (NWLP), funded through the National Literacy Act of 1991, created a
national forum for the topic of workplace literacy. From 1988 through 1996, nearly $133 million was appropriated to
fund over 300 NWLP demonstration projects. Workplace literacy was the focus of attention during the NWLP era, and a
great deal of workplace literacy activity occurred in the field. But what has happened to workplace literacy since funding
ceased? Has it disappeared? Have the issues surrounding it changed? This Myths and Realities examines
these questions as they apply to workplace literacy following the NWLP.
Moving toward a work-first environment
A tongue-in-cheek exploration of some of the problems in adult workplace literacy programs
Basic skills in the workplace: a research review
This report provides an overview and meta-analysis of 91 recent research findings in the field of basic skills in the
workplace and points out future research needs where current evidence is inadequate to answer the questions of
policymakers. A 37 page selective, annotated, English-language bibliography is included.
Beginning level
Intermediate level
Advance level
• Vocation
• Post secondary
OBT 040 21st Century Employment Strategies
This course is designed to prepare students for success in gaining employment in today’s competitive job market.
Topics covered include Resumes and Cover Letters (including E-Resumes), Interviewing Techniques, Finding the
Job You Want (including Internet searching), Understanding the Legalities of Personnel Paperwork (including
applications, E-applications, W-4s, I-9s), Pre-Employment Testing, and Job Survival (i.e., how to get along with coworkers, handle stressful situations) and much more.
OBT 050 Customer Service
This course is designed to provide students with key skills and attitudes in order to effectively meet the needs of the
21st century customer. Students will be introduced to the concepts of: internal and external customers; customer
expectations and satisfaction; effective customer communications; handling conflict, stress and teamwork; attitude,
values and ethics; problem solving and decision making; and organizational change.
OBT 055 Office Equipment
This course provides a critical first look at technology in today’s office environment. Students will experience handson use of standard office equipment, such as the: copier, printer, fax machine, shredder, cutter, puncher, etc. Plus
techniques in how to search the Internet, and earn the opportunity to “learn-by-doing” under the supervision of an
OBT 061 Medical Front Office
Topics covered under this program include a comprehensive understanding of medical front office duties: medical
terminology, front office procedures, medical billing and coding, medical transcription and Medisoft.
OBT 062 Dental Front Office
Topics covered under this program include a comprehensive understanding of dental front office duties: dental
terminology, office procedures, billing and transcription techniques, and Dental Software.
OBT 065 Careers in Hospitality
This course introduces a spectrum of opportunities in hospitality and tourism and the practical skills needed for a
career in those arenas. Through case studies and live demonstrations, available opportunities are explored in:
restaurants, hotels, beverage operations, casinos, theme venues, entertainment centers, cruise lines, and countless
other hospitality and tourism businesses.
OBT 066 Hospitality and Tourism
This class covers factors that affect tourism throughout their careers. It includes industry statistics, an overview of
today’s principal issues, and management and operation functions. In conjunction with OBT 065, this course
prepares students for entry into Glendale College’s credit Hospitality program.
• Description: Cooperative Education 101 is the
supervised employment of students with the intent of
assisting them in acquiring desirable work habits,
developing career awareness, and promoting positive
attitudes about jobs and the world of work. Note: A
maximum of 6 units for Cooperative Education 101 may
be earned. A maximum of 16 units may be earned in all
Cooperative Education.
• Corequisite: Concurrent enrollment in 7 units, including
Cooperative Education.
Table 1. Strengths of Program Types
Workplace Classes
Ease of scheduling
Authenticity of content
positive work environment
Vocational Classes
Value of prior knowledge and skills
Transferability of learning
An arena for practice
Opportunities for collaboration
Opportunities to earn a credential
Adult ESL Classes
Applicability to multiple contexts
Nurturing atmosphere
Table 2. Challenges of Program Types
Workplace Classes
Unrealistic expectations about language
Learner/worker discomfort
Teacher knowledge
Sensitive Issues
Views of education vs. training
Limited opportunities to earn a
Vocational Classes
Adult ESL Classes
Access to programs
Teacher reluctance to work with non-native English speakers
Financial need
Diverse learner
Teacher knowledge
Limited coverage
of specific skills
Irregular learner
Workplace Instruction and Workforce Preparatioin for Adult Immigrants
Miriam Burt and Julie Mathews-Aydinli (2007)
• 54.5% Foreign-born
– 42.4% born in Iran, Armenia and Lebanon
– 21.5% Glendale’s total population
Armenian, Iranian, Russian, Korean, Filipino,
Mexican and Lebanese.
• 26% fairly recent immigrants
• 74% of the recipients of government aid
had a primary language other than English
• 26% English as primary language
• 59% Armenian (Iran, Armenia, Russia and
• 9% Spanish speakers
Down-Top Approach
Needs analysis
Specific Job training
Top-Down Approach
Find the jobs in the community
Speak with the employers
Find specific needs of the employer
Offer internship
Develop specific training
Who employs in Glendale?
• Verdugo Job Center
• Glendale College Career Center
• Glendale Unified School District
These jobs are not limited to the following employers but in the past
they have been open to hiring students with limited English proficiency.
Department Stores:
• Macy’s
• Ross
• Target
Glendale Unified School District
• Teacher’s aides
• Cooks
• Food servers
• Burger King
• Alcapulco
• Sizzler
• Yoshinoya
Career Resource Center sites
Positions are available to LEP in the backroom. They can hang clothing stock racks and refold
merchandise without any interaction with customers.
Ross has an application that goes to the cooperate office. All applicants need to apply by
computer at Ross. The positions that are available to LEP students are working in the stock room.
There is a maximum of 4 hours per day.
All applicants must interact with the customers. LEP students may work in the evening after the
store has closed stocking merchandise as backroom team members.
T. J. Maxx
All applicants must interact with the customers. Each employee is assigned to a specific area
where they will interact with the customers. The manager mentioned that a number of his
employees attend GCC. Merchandise associates are encouraged because of their bilingual
The manager requires that all applicants interact with the customers. Seasonal workers with low
English skills are employed for a limited amount of time.
The manager welcomes all applicants with a basic understanding of English. Employees are
expected to become well versed in the area they work.
Local Schools
• Glendale Unified School District
– The Glendale Unified School District has a
need for volunteers and teacher’s aides.
They hire school cooks and servers as well.
Bilingual aides are a great help to teachers
during recesses.
Restaurants in the community that
have hired LEP students
Burger King
Yoshinoya Beef Bowl Restaurant
• House Cleaners
can make c. $150.00 per house per day.
Since it is necessary to build clientele,
students need to learn a limited amount of
English to function well.
• Day Laborer
What is the next step?
• Vocational Education
• Post secondary

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