MEDIA ADVISORY – Seventy-nine of the more than 500 workers laid off last June when XL Four-Star closed its beef processing plant in Nampa are completing an English as a Second Language (ESL) course that will make them more employable as they look for new jobs.
Bert Glandon, president of the College of Western Idaho and Idaho Department of Labor Director Roger B. Madsen will be on hand at the Idaho Hispanic Cultural Center at noon on Friday, Dec. 16, when the students receive their certificates of completion.
The majority of the production workers at the Nampa plant spoke only Spanish when the plant was closed for economic reasons.
Using a National Emergency grant secured by the Idaho Department of Labor to help the displaced XL workers find jobs, CWI developed a 120-hour, six-week custom program that trained the workers to speak English specific to the workplace. The courses were taught at the Idaho Hispanic Cultural Center in Nampa.
CWI started the program with 80 participants. Only one person dropped the course because they found work elsewhere.
“We initially estimated a 50 percent completion rate, so 99 percent is exceptional,” noted Scott Fenwick, Director of CWI Business Partnerships/Workforce Development. “This is a huge accomplishment for these students.”
The College and the Idaho Department of Labor are working together to coordinate additional learning options for former XL workers. Encouraged by their success, nearly all of the workers have expressed interest in a second phase of training that would include computer literacy to make them comfortable with using PCs, which have become so prevalent in the workplace.
The ceremony will be held:
Friday, December 16
12:00 p.m. (noon)
Hispanic Culture Center of Idaho
315 Stampede Drive, Nampa, ID
CWI also looks to develop a similar model for other companies that lay off workers in the next few years. For more information on the English Workplace program please contact Becky Sherman by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 208.562.2739.
Jennifer Couch, (208) 562-3508, [email protected]
Bob Fick, (208) 332-3570, [email protected]
About the College of Western Idaho:
The College of Western Idaho is a public, open-access, and comprehensive community college committed to providing affordable access to quality teaching and learning opportunities to the residents of its service area in western Idaho. CWI has seven campus locations throughout Southwest Idaho providing higher education and 21st Century technical skills acquisition. The college is dedicated to improving the community’s economic well-being by responding with highly-educated and productive graduates. The foundation for the area’s only community college was created by a supermajority of voters in Ada and Canyon counties on May 22, 2007. For more information about the college, visit www.cwidaho.cc or call (208) 562-3000.