Upskilling opportunities will continue for Rosen associates; Amazon, GOAA and others to join in program’s success
Orange County, FL — What started as a first-of-its-kind pilot program with Rosen Hotels & Resorts partnering with Orange County Government, UCF Global and Aeras Foundation– to provide onsite English language instruction tailored to the needs of working adults—will now turn into a fully funded program within the I-Drive Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) beginning in January 2024.
With findings indicating significantly increased learning gains and high employee and employer satisfaction, and increased guest satisfaction scores, Orange County Government is expanding its ESOL for Working Adults program.
“Not only did this model prove successful, but because of such public-private partnerships we know that there is increased confidence among participants, increased morale, and new opportunity for upskilling and growth for those individuals who serve at the center of our world-class tourism industry,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. ”I look forward to future workforce recommendations and how our private and institutional partners can work alongside the County to continue to propel our community forward.”
Paramount Hospitality Management, the Orange County Convention Center, and Hilton Orlando will follow the inaugural employer partner, Rosen Hotels & Resorts to provide space, time, support, and pay for their employees participating in the language learning coursework.
“Serving overseas as an Army officer, I quickly recognized the importance of understanding the language of the country where I was serving,” said Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts.
“Making these classes accessible to our associates to attend, while on-the-clock, is critical to this program’s success. I am so proud of our associates for their desire to better themselves and for the partnerships that made this program so successful.”
This innovative program removes barriers for workers to learn English while promoting upskilling and upward mobility with onsite instruction. Research findings indicate that employees found work schedules (49%), lack of time (27%), cost (26%), and availability of classes (22%) were top obstacles in the past.
2023 ESOL Pilot Key Findings:
- Satisfaction: Overall perceptions of the program were overwhelmingly positive with a majority (89%) indicating a willingness to recommend. “My employer supported me” ranked as the top benefit.
- Learning Gains: There were statistically significant gains across all areas of instruction, with Speaking showing the most improvement.
- Grammar scores significantly increased from pre-test to post-test
- Vocabulary scores significantly increased from pre-test to post-test
- Reading scores significantly increased from pre-test to post-test
- Speaking scores significantly increased from pre-test to post-test
- Employer Feedback:
- Increased associate confidence, in turn, comes with increased morale and associate retention. “We noticed associates becoming more comfortable in their roles, with the guests and overall, and with their happiness at work.”
- Increased guest satisfaction scores on greetings from staff.
- Increased opportunity for growth within the organization.
As this English language learning model becomes a permanent initiative within the Orange County I-Drive Community Redevelopment Area, private businesses like Amazon, Gaylord Palms, and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority are modeling this pilot to directly work with the instruction partner, UCF Global to provide ESOL education to their employees.
“UCF is excited to be the instruction partner for this expanded effort to unleash the potential of those in our community by making high-quality language learning affordable and accessible,” said UCF President Alexander. N Cartwright. “We believe that education has the power to transform lives, and collaborations such as this have meaningful impact on our workforce, industries, and region.”
Agreements are currently being finalized with UCF Global and Orange County Public Schools to start in January, while Orange County will continue to partner with the Aeras Foundation for digital devices to expand online learning opportunities.
To address talent shortages, Orange County’s International Drive Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) advisory group recommended an investment in English Learning language to support professional growth and retention.
In September 2022, Orange County Government partnered with UCF Global, Rosen Hotels & Resorts and Aeras Foundation to launch a first-of-its-kind pilot program to provide onsite English language instruction tailored to the needs of working adults in the I-Drive CRA.
For more information and the full research findings, visit: www.ocfl.net/ESOL