UW Hospital and Clinics' English as a Second Language Program Recognized

ESL ProgramThe following release was written by The Literacy Network.
 
MADISON - The National Institute for Literacy estimates that each year, U.S. businesses lose more than $60 billion in production due to employees who lack basic skills. Forward-thinking organizations recognize this, and find ways to train their employees to achieve success.
 
And that's why Wisconsin Literacy, a statewide coalition of literacy providers, recognized the English as a Second Language program at UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) as the 2007 Outstanding Workplace Program at its fifth annual Celebration of Literacy on May 17 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
 
Since 2005, UW Hospital and Clinics has contracted with the Madison-based Literacy Network to provide English as Second Language classes for its employees. Employees gain the literacy skills necessary to excel at their current jobs and advance to more challenging health care occupations.
 
"This is a model program by a company that understands that improving an employee's literacy skills for the workplace will affect every aspect of that employee's life," says Gregory Markle, Executive Director of Literacy Network.
 
Janice Bultema, vice president of Human Resources for UWHC, says the hospital's workplace literacy program is essential to the great quality care and service the employees provide.
 
"We see our employees as partners in quality care for our patients," says Bultema. "Our goal is that the person with limited English literacy skills who is working in an entry-level job today will be better able to communicate with co-workers and patients, and maybe become a nurse, technician or supervisor tomorrow."
 
Many participants in UWHC's literacy program say they now feel more comfortable talking with their supervisor and can do their job better. One participant, Esther Ramirez-Osio, partially credits her recent promotion to custodial supervisor to what she has learned through the program.
 
"It really helped me understand better and gave me the confidence to become a supervisor," says Ramirez-Osio.
 
The UWHC program has helped over fifty employees since the program's inception. In addition to achieving success in the workplace, learners are better able to help their children succeed in school or read a ballot and vote for the first time.

Date Published: 07/19/2007


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