Context-based training programs
The context-based training programs at Maricopa Community Colleges are customized to meet specific needs and are tailored to the levels of achievement and language skills of the students. One solution being offered by these two colleges is to help businesses improve the language ability of their workers with limited proficiency through classes in business English.
According to the human resources director of The Village Health Club and Spa, Laura Frederickson, the comprehensive program helped improve the English language skills of the club’s employees and was worth every cent of tuition. The club partnered with Maricopa Corporate College, which is located in north Scottsdale, and the teacher for the training program came to the club to lead the classes. Frederickson was very impressed with the instructor, who easily connected with the first group of 15 workers that were trained and graduated. Their communication and reporting skills improved, which greatly boosted the workers’ confidence. Frederickson said that the context-based learning program will be a part of their training budget for 2015 as well.
Maricopa Corporate College, a recently established business development school, focuses on resolving gaps through skill training and providing solutions for the workforce. As Lee DeLuca, the corporate account executive of the school, explained, the school draws upon the system-wide instructor resources of Maricopa Community Colleges in order to find the best instructor to fit the training needs of a business, much like the process of business matching. The language program leaders achieve this by first meeting with a prospective business client and learning his/her needs. Then the program leader seeks the right faculty member to match the training culture of the client.
Rio Salado College
Over at Rio Salado College, Kate Packer, program director of the College Bridge Pathways Workplace Education program, explained they offer a program for English Language Acquisition. She stated that this program is available for broad groups of people, such as workers from different countries who are engaged in various professional and technical positions. Rio Salado also offers context-based learning programs.
Just like Maricopa Corporate College, Rio Salado College partners with companies to help them meet their training goals, providing them with a flexible class schedule to fit the specific needs of the company. To gauge student achievement, the program assesses the students before they start the program and then checks their progress at the end of it. So far the language programs have seen remarkable advancement in the students that have gone through the training, with their language skills rising to up to three levels from their initial assessment.
A comprehensive study of workers with limited English proficiency (LEP) was released by the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program last week. The study covered the 90 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., and Phoenix ranked at the mid point. The city’s ranking was above the national average, but the growth in the LEP workforce between 2000 and 2012 was less than that found in Denver, Dallas, Austin, and other areas.