An outreach effort by a Salina USD 305 adult education program is seeing success.
According to the district, four Schwan’s employees received a certification of completion after taking part in a 10-week, intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) class. The class was developed to address a language challenge experienced by workers who are not fluent in English.
Salina Adult Education Center (SAEC) instructors worked with Schwan’s plant supervisors and Human Resources (HR) to identify priorities. Top needs that surfaced were safety terms and practices, understanding HR benefits and payroll and being able to communicate concerns or problems. Another need was the ability to communicate effectively with coworkers.
“Participants became more skilled at understanding equipment procedures, how to evacuate in a crisis and how to talk with supervisors,” explained Kelly Mobray, director of Salina Adult Education Center.
“We identified an opportunity to give our employees an additional benefit by partnering with SAEC to offer a Schwan’s specific ESL course,” said Madeline Garretson, senior HR manager. “The impact of their success will be felt by their families and the community, and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”
Curriculum was developed so that participants would be more fluent in English, particularly reading, speaking and listening. The 3-hour class met on Mondays after shifts ended at 3:30 with dinner provided by Schwan’s. In addition, students completed three hours of class work at home each week.
Schwan’s leadership is dedicated to supporting their employees’ personal and professional growth. Benefits of this partnership include improved worker retention and the development of a pool of workers qualified to advance and be promoted. The class is part of the Accelerated Opportunities-Kansas (AO-K at Work) initiative. Planning for a second class is expected to begin soon.
The Salina Adult Education Center provides adult basic education, English as a Second Language support, GED® preparation and testing as well as college skills building for people 16 years or older and out of school. A diploma completion program for adults to meet requirements and earn a Central or South High School diploma is offered at SAEC. An intensive employment course called Partners 4 Success was developed by SAEC and is offered in collaboration with Salina area agencies and employers.
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