This program, under the leadership of Tufts Medical Center CEO Ellen Zane, provides English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and GED preparation classes for entry-level employees in Environmental Services and other departments within the hospital who are seeking promotions. It is funded by both the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Tufts Medical Center through a partnership with the Asian American Civic Association.
The ESOL program has served 39 students, the majority of who initially tested into zero through second grade reading levels. The GED program has served 8 more employees. Students in both programs have shown remarkable growth through their test scores, grade levels, and overall English proficiency. Supervisors have been supportive despite thinner staff coverage during class time. Tufts Medical Center makes additional cash and in-kind contributions and provides students with paid release time to attend class. Fifty percent of students have managed to study English or prepare for a GED while working two jobs, a testament to the importance of workplace programs.
As an employee in the Environmental Services Department with hopes of moving up the hospital’s career ladder, Maria eagerly participated in the ESOL classes four hours per week during work hours.