English at Work provides industry-contextualized English lessons to employees in retail, manufacturing, ride sharing, and other sectors. The training enables Farichah, a grocery retail worker, to acquire important English skills needed to prosper at work.
Farichah moved to the United States from Indonesia in 2000. Initially, it was quite difficult for her to communicate with others in English. Farichah had trouble understanding native English speakers who spoke quickly, and it was hard for other people to understand her flawed pronunciation. Although she has worked on her English skills throughout the years, Farichah is always seeking opportunities to improve her oral, listening and writing abilities.
Her never ending desire to refine her English skills is in part due to how necessary English is to her job. Farichah has been working at the Union Square Whole Foods store for 3 years as an Overnight Production Team Member for the Prepared Foods Department. English is essential for every aspect of her work. Sometimes team members need to write reports; they must read and understand the guidelines of the company; members must be able to read and follow the recipes, which change every season; and team members must frequently communicate with each other, with English as their one common language. “So, if we understand English well, we can perform the job by ourselves without bothering other employees.”
Knowing how vital English is to perform her job well, Farichah was delighted when Whole Foods began offering free English at Work classes. Despite her personal struggles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Farichah excitedly seized the opportunity to better her English skills online. She was fully engaged and dedicated to her virtual English lessons for the past few months. Farichah constantly participated in the online class and happily completed her weekly homework and quizzes. “Every module is very clear. The videos, activities and even the quiz are very easy to follow and understand. When the instructor asked the participants to write in the Chat or Shared Notes, that helped us to type so that we know how to spell.”
After English at Work, Farichah says that she is more comfortable communicating with both customers and fellow team members. “I learned a lot from this class. The lessons and the way the teacher delivered the lessons reminded me to use grammar properly. I also learned more vocabulary related to my job, so it’s very useful.” She enjoyed and benefitted from these classes greatly and has already recommended the course to her coworkers!
Having gained greater confidence, Farichah hopes to apply for a promotion as a Trainer when the opportunity arises. She will use her improved English skills to polish up her resume and cover letter, as well as to better communicate with people both at work and in her everyday life. “Hopefully, there is a continuation of these classes!”
The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Annalisa Barlin, Integration Programs intern, for capturing this story.