English at Work provides classes for immigrant employees tailored to their jobs, which increases language proficiency and confidence both in the workplace and private life. The program’s goal is to enhance the English reading, writing, and oral skills of each participant, which will help build a path towards career advancement and upward mobility. Moreover, English learning has shown to provide employers with more confident and efficient workers.
Yaneth Diaz, immigrated from Colombia in 2002 and has been participating in English at Work since 2021. Originally a doctor in Colombia, Yaneth spent her first few years in the United States in North Dakota and California, working as a nurse.
“When I first arrived, I didn’t speak any English whatsoever. It was especially hard in North Dakota because there weren’t any Spanish speakers at all. It was hard to communicate and that’s when I realized how important it was for me to start learning English.”
Yaneth moved to Texas in 2008 and began working for Hilmar Cheese Company as a microlab technician. Most of her co-workers and supervisors communicated in English. While Yaneth became increasingly comfortable with English after a few years at Hilmar, she also understood that becoming fluent was vital in order to grow within the company. Through our partnership with Hilmar Cheese Company, Yaneth participated in our English at Work cohorts in 2021 and again in 2022.
“I’m grateful that Hilmar was able to provide me with this opportunity,” said Yaneth. “The most important thing I’ve learned so far in my classes was using correct grammar.” Yaneth expresses her appreciation for Hilmar and English at Work as her English language skills have improved dramatically since she enrolled in the program.
She was recently promoted to a Bench Technician at Hilmar, and she credits this promotion to her newly improved skills through the English at Work program.
“It is important to understand English in my new position as a Bench Technician because it involves a lot of reading and writing.” At work, Yaneth enjoys mentoring and encouraging her colleagues who are eager to improve their language skills, so they can also perform their jobs better and have increased opportunities for advancement. Congratulations Yaneth!
The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Cosme Medina, Integration Programs intern, for highlighting this story.