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.

Long-Term Care

In early 2006, tension and frustration arising from a lack of communication among the staff, administration, and residents of Marina Bay Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center threatened efficiency and quality care. Forty-five percent of the staff, including 88% of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) did not speak English as their first language.

Nursing supervisors received complaints from residents and their family members about not being able to communicate well with caretakers. At the same time, caretakers themselves often felt embarrassed about their inability to speak the same language as their patients and colleagues. The CNAs wanted to build meaningful relationships with clients, too, but found it difficult to understand their patients.

Marina Bay’s high staff turnover was emblematic of a chronic problem dogging the extended care industry nationwide. For entry-level staff to remain committed to the organization, they would need more opportunities for professional development.

Some on staff had tried to improve their skills through community-based English programs, but were unable to complete them while juggling responsibilities at work and at home. “I started school myself in Dorchester, but I couldn’t finish,” says Janique Alteon, who has worked at Marina Bay for 11 years.

“When I came to the US I needed money for my family in
Haiti, so I had to work and couldn’t finish the classes.”

— Janique Alteon, Marina Bay Workplace ESOL Student

Marina Bay began offering workplace ESOL classes in September 2006 after receiving a grant from the CommonwealthCorporation under the Extended Care Career Ladder Initiative (ECCLI). They teamed up with their partner facility, The Bostonian in Dorchester. With time carved out in their schedules for learning English, participants have fewer work or family time conflicts. Staff is paid for at least 50% of the time they spend in class, such that the commitment is shared by staff and management. Attendance is nearly perfect.

Residents also help support the English classes through a “Talking Club,” where CNAs and residents are paired together to practice English conversation and go over work-related vocabulary lists provided by supervisors. The “Talking Club” has been instrumental to the program’s success, helping CNAs increase their English proficiency and workplace-specific knowledge, providing an arena for residents and their caretakers to establish relationships, and helping to cultivate understanding between the two groups.

Another important outcome of the program has been an increase in the self-efficacy of residents, who often receive help from others but do not get the opportunity to reciprocate. Alyce Kelley, who joined the “Talking Club” to give back to the CNAs who helped her through a serious illness last year says, “It makes you feel good to know that you are helping them while they are helping you.”

The program reaches 170 CNAs at Marina Bay and The Bostonian, and turnover rate has decreased from 33% to 14%. Communication complaints dropped 75% one year after the program’s initiation.


Marina Bay Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Rosemary McLaughlin
2 Seaport Drive, Marina Bay
Quincy, MA 02171
Phone: 617-769-5100

Commonwealth Corporation
Extended Care Career Ladder Initiative
Phone: 617-727-8158

Massachusetts Extended Care Federation
2310 Washington Street, Suite 300
Newton Lower Falls, MA 02462
Phone: 617-558-0202