It is not just about English skills; English at Work affords participants the ability to build confidence in their communication skills, embark on a personal and professional development journey, and create valuable relationships with team mates as they work through learning English together.
Evangeline Angeles, a Gelson’s Assistant Manager in California, is originally from the Philippines, where English is spoken as a second language by many people. Even though she felt that she already had a solid foundation of English, Evangeline felt that there is always room to improve. “English is a good thing if you want to grow in the company, especially to be confident, so you can deliver your message in the right words.” English is used differently in the Philippines and the United States, so it was important for Evangeline to make sure she was communicating effectively at work and getting her message across in a professional manner.
A single mother who worked throughout the pandemic, Evangeline loves to learn. “People think I’m crazy, but it makes my blood pump,” she noted emphatically. Staying stagnant in work or life is not something she likes to do, and English at Work presented a powerful opportunity to improve her English skills for her profession. She loves working with people, solving problems, and communicating with others. Honing her English during this training allowed Evangeline to build confidence in communicating with customers and coworkers alike. This helped her strengthen key competencies needed for her role: critical thinking and problem solving, marketing products, understanding and responding to customer needs, ensuring employee safety and more.
In person classes can be hard to get to because of high gas prices, work, and taking care of family. English at Work is conveniently delivered through virtual live instruction and digital modules, a model that is responsive to the needs of busy working adults like Evangeline.
Even when you think you speak English well, you can always improve.
Evangeline spoke highly about her experiences with English at Work because they had such a positive impact on her life, and especially in boosting her confidence. For example, she feels strongly that age does not have to be a barrier to learning English, especially in a supportive classroom environment where classmates can push each other to learn. She feels that “even when you think you speak English well, you can always improve,” and the virtual classroom was the perfect place to do that.
She is also extremely appreciative of her teacher Andrea, from Cerritos College, because “a good teacher really makes a difference.” Having a teacher that makes class “like a girl’s night out, but with the guys too” was really important because as Evangeline explains, “it is easier to learn when you are having a good time!” Even months after the end of the course, Evangeline reminisces about the wonderful experiences she had and the friendships she made with her classmates and instructor.
Evangeline is deeply committed to learning and continues to build her confidence every day by practicing what she learned with every opportunity she gets. Since graduating from English at Work in August, she has enrolled in the Retail Management Certificate program, a college-credit program, and would jump on any opportunity she gets to better herself.
An advocate for herself and others, Evangeline enjoys sharing how this experience helped her achieve her professional goals, and encourages her peers at Gelson’s to join an English at Work class next time they get a chance. “Nothing can stop us from learning, don’t hesitate to learn,” she tells them.
The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Audrey Glas, Business Engagement and Inclusion Programs intern, for capturing this story.