Innovative English Language Programs Offer Customized Training, Regionally and Internationally
Since its inception in 1970, the English Language Center at Howard Community College has helped thousands build or improve their English reading, writing, and speaking skills. Now, the center has expanded into developing customized classes and training programs to groups of students, teachers, and professionals both regionally and locally.
“We are always looking for new avenues or interesting programs that can remove barriers and give people the tools they need to learn English as a means of pursuing a good education or enhancing their careers,” said Rosie Verratti, director of the English Language Center. “In addition, English plays an important role in many arenas—education, international business, science and technology—and is only going to become more important as the world becomes increasingly globalized.”
English for the American Workforce
One such customized program is English for the American Workplace. Many local manufacturing companies employ a number of employees with limited English skills, which can be a barrier to the growth of both the employee and the company. Next Day Blinds, headquartered in Jessup, decided to do something about it.
Using funding from Maryland Business Works, an incumbent worker training program administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), Next Day Blinds partnered with the English Language Center to develop a custom English training program, which included three days of on-site instruction per week. The company used the program as an incentive for model employees and was so pleased with the results of the program that it immediately applied for a second round of funding.
Global Business Program
Understanding the nuances of international business culture is critical for success in a global market. Beyond language, those wishing to do business in the United States need to have strong strategic management skills and knowledge of international business ethics.
Recently, four groups of students who are pursuing master’s degrees at the British Institute of Management and Technology in the Ivory Coast traveled to the English Language Center. They participated in a program focusing on improving communication skills for use in today’s international business market and gathering insights on how American business people think, make decisions, and run companies.
Summer Language and Culture Academy
Through a partnership with the government of Naju City, a Maryland Sister City, approximately 30 middle and high school students from the Republic of Korea have traveled to the HCC campus for the past two summers, taking a series of English courses as part of their summertime exploration of the U.S. Through a range of activities, participants have learned about American culture and life in Maryland - from visits with county and state officials, to trips to the Howard County Farm Fair and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
English Development for International Educators
Another key initiative for the English Language Center is to improve the quality of English language education through training programs offered to international instructors of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This program offers a range of English Language Teaching courses, customized to the needs of the specific audience. The most recent participants in this program was group of EFL teachers and deans from Ma’anshan Teachers College in Ma’anshan China. The ELC also regularly provides training to visiting scholars at University of Maryland through a partnership with the school’s Office of China Affairs.