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.


In June 2008, Sofia Xiao received her second promotion since starting her job at The Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in March 2006. Sofia, who spoke no English when she came to the U.S. three years ago from China with her husband and son, can still remember her trepidation at attending her first job interview in a new country. “I was scared to do the interview,” she remembers. “I just wanted to try and get experience, because this was the first interview for me in the U.S. I was nervous because I knew I couldn’t speak English well.”

Sofia got the job as a room attendant and, upon employment, became a member of UNITE HERE! Local 26, a union representing 5,000 hospitality workers in Greater Boston. She quickly discovered that one of the benefits of her union membership was an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program run by Boston Education, Skills & Training Corporation (BEST Corp.), a non-profit education and training provider created to offer services bargained under an agreement between Local 26 and its employer partners.

The combination of English and skills training classes at BEST Corp. have helped Sofia and others student employees excel. At every level of employment,

“There has to be room in predominantly immigrant
  industries for this kind of work.”

— Brian Lang, Vice President, UNITE HERE Local 26

she has seen the benefits of improved English skills in her job performance and the increased opportunities available to her. With her increased English proficiency, Sofia quickly rose from room attendant to linen room attendant, to server’s assistant. Fifteen of Sofia’s ESOL classmates also received promotions due to increased English proficiency as well.

The benefits of BEST Corp.’s workplace oriented ESOL program extend far beyond job promotion. Employees have expressed an increased understanding of workplace safety, their benefit packages, and their own rights. BEST Corp’s dynamic curriculum consists of 12 thematic units ranging from workplace safety to career advancement. Each introduces new areas of English language and grammar competencies, allowing students to learn workplace skills and become proficient in English simultaneously. Between 2007 and 2008, 270 members received both ESOL and skills training. Fifty-eight of these students advanced at least one writing and reading or listening and speaking Student Performance Level. Thirty-one non-native English speakers passed their citizenship exams.

The cost turnover is huge and the goal is to retain talent”

— Susan McDonnell, employer partner of BEST Corp.

The quality of workplace communication and customer service has increased notably, and staff turnover has decreased.

ESOL classes are funded primarily through the Greater Boston Hotel Employees (GBHE) Health and Welfare Trust Fund with additional public and private funding.


BEST Corp.
33 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-542-1177

UNITE HERE! Local 26
33 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-542-1515

GBHE Trust Fund
Donna Schnaible, Administrator
20 Park Plaza, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02116