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ESL classes improve skills on job, in community

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

At Cascade Asset Management in Madison, Wis., foreign-born employees take English as a Second Language (ESL) classes on site at no cost.

A local literacy network evaluates employees and conducts the classes. About 15 of Cascade’s 80 employees have enrolled in the three-course program.

The first session in 2007 helped employees learn job information. Subsequent classes focused on improving their English skills to use in the community, said HR Manager Jennifer Peters.

The two-hour sessions begin either an hour before work starts or before the workday ends. That way, employees are paid for half of their classroom time.

Each class meets twice a week for 16 weeks and costs the company about $3,500. The literacy network also picks up part of the tab with a grant from United Asian Services.

“The greatest benefit is watching [the employees] grow and learn and see how excited they are,” Peters said. “It shows them and all employees that we are committed to them as people and not just as employees.”

Contact: Jennifer Peters at, or (608) 222-4800.

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