English Language Learning Programs to Immigrant Business Owners
This partnership between English for New Bostonians and MGCC provides both English and business development training to immigrant entrepreneurs.
Since 2015, MGCC has been a proud supporter of English for New Bostonians (ENB) on their efforts to provide free, high quality English language learning programs to immigrant business owners.
English Works Campaign
In March of 2017, MGCC and ENB unveiled a partnership that supports services for immigrant business owners that can enhance their growth and stability. The collaboration focuses on the English Works campaign, which elevates immigrant’s voices among employers, community leaders, students, unions and educators. Together, the organizations reach out to other statewide and national partners to expand resources and share the learnings from this exciting initiative.
English Works raises awareness among business leaders across multiple industries that when their immigrant employees can communicate in English, their rates of productivity increase due to better understanding of business goals, systems, and safety standards and protocols. And as English skills improve, error and turnover rates decline.
English Works assists employers and unions in finding low- to no-cost options to support their workforce by providing English for speakers of other language (ESOL) classes at work.
The campaign encourages immigrant workers to help identify businesses at which English classes are needed and participate in outreach and education events. It is also encouraged to ESOL providers to contact businesses that employ their students and offer to find ways to provide ESOL instruction in the workplace.
This work is critical to the Massachusetts economy. Immigrants comprise approximately 16 percent of the state’s population and 20 percent of the state’s labor force. They are twice as likely as native-born residents to become entrepreneurs and own approximately 30 percent of main street businesses in the Boston metro area.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners Program
ENB developed and ran a pilot program in 2015-2016 with four cohorts of immigrant business owners in Jamaica Plain, Chelsea, East Boston and childcare workers. The groups studied English together (contextualized for business and customer service), received training on financial management and marketing, and received one on one coaching for their individual businesses. The results were striking: business owners made gains in their English skills, were able to increase sales and service to English speaking customers, and set up business checking accounts so their personal monies were no longer intermingled with business funds. An evaluation of the pilot, commissioned by MGCC and carried out by independent consultant Mary Coonan, has recommendations on how to replicate this effort using best practices learned from the pilot program.