Sign on to the English Works Campaign

agrees to support and participate in the English Works Campaign.
As a signatory to English Works, our organization agrees to be listed on English Works materials and will have a seat on the Campaign Committee.
We enter into this voluntary agreement with English Works in a spirit of partnership and collaboration, and with a vision of a Commonwealth that provides all residents with a pathway to economic self-sufficiency; ensures a stable, skilled workforce for Massachusetts businesses today and in the future; and integrates immigrants into the fabric of our economy, communities and shared civic life.

The challenge

Immigrant workers are key contributors to the economic vitality of the Commonwealth. Without immigration, Massachusetts would have lost population over the past decade. Economic success in Massachusetts, in turn, increasingly depends in large part on the English language skills of the workforce.

Currently, 1 in 5 workers in Massachusetts (nearly 1 in 3 in Boston) is an immigrant – a proportion that has doubled over the last 25 years – and nearly 7 out of 10 or half a million adult immigrants in Massachusetts need improved literacy or English skills to succeed in the increasingly knowledge-based economy (MassINC, 2005).

Across the Commonwealth, we must address three key trends—significant job vacancy rates, increasing language requirements, and heavy dependence on immigrant workers.

Immigrants want to learn English and businesses strongly agree. Yet current efforts to address the demand for medium- and high-level English language skills are not sufficient. In the Commonwealth today, for every student enrolled in a state-funded English program, there is another waiting. Some 16,000 individuals have tried to enroll but cannot. This unmet need represents a great cost, not only to the workers striving to achieve economic stability, but also to the entire Massachusetts economy. Accordingly, we must act quickly to ensure workers reach the level of proficiency needed to move our economy forward. As one prominent business leader who has invested in English classes for his staff puts it, “English language programs in the workplace are no longer goodwill gestures—they are a strategic business necessity.