ESL/Job Readiness Program a Finalist in ARAMARK Building Community 2012 Innovation Awards
May 18, 2012 - By Ryan Wenzel
Henry Street Settlement's ESL/Job Readiness Program was named a finalist — one of only two nationwide — in the prestigious ARAMARK Building Community 2012 Innovation Awards competition. The awards were announced May 2.
Presented by ARAMARK, the Alliance for Children and Families, and United Neighborhood Centers of America, this year's awards recognized excellence in workforce development programs across the country. Henry Street's ESL/Job Readiness program, one of several services offered by the Settlement's Workforce Development Center, was named a finalist in the "Skills Training for Targeted Populations" category.
The program combines job training and English language instruction for low-income, unemployed immigrants that helps them overcome employment and language barriers. Each year, Henry Street prepares more than 150 new Americans for employment; some 120 are placed in jobs that allow them to begin integrating into American society.
The ESL/Job Readiness Program began eight years ago with support from Robin Hood Foundation, which has continued to support the program since. The program has placed 763 community residents with poor English-language skills in meaningful employment across a variety of sectors, including food service, hotel/hospitality, security, and other industries. Some 495 individuals retained their jobs for one year or longer and experienced a 249 percent increase in average annual income.