© 2023 90.7 WMFE. All Rights Reserved.
Public Media News for Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hospitality workers in Orange County can get English language education for free

A migrant worker studies English at a shelter in Denver. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)
Thomas Peipert/AP
A migrant worker studies English at a shelter in Denver. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

Orange County has teamed up with UCF Global and Rosen Hotels & Resorts to offer English as a Second Language instruction to hotel workers on I-Drive.

The pilot program provides twice weekly English instruction to about 65 Rosen Hotels & Resorts employees.

Rosen provides the space for classes and pays employees to participate.

Orange County’s Renuka Sastri said the program is a win-win for employers and employees. Employers guarantee workers can easily communicate with guests. And workers gain a new skillset and possibly a promotion.

“The majority of them have said they want access to better work opportunities to have access to interact better within the community, to participate in what their children are learning," said Sastri. "There's a whole range, but really the number one reason was access to better work opportunities.”

Sastri said the design of the program makes it easier for students to complete the full course load in just three quick semesters.

“And they’re right there, they're already at work," said Sastri. "So, transportation, childcare, and the conflict with the work schedule, which are three of the big barriers that we've heard of, are sort of removed upfront.” 

About half of the students who have participated in the pilot program are of Haitian descent and have lived in the Central Florida area for about eight years.

The county will analyze data from the pilot with plans to expand it this summer to other business partners on I-Drive.

To learn more about the program, or to get involved, click here.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
Related Content
90.7 WMFE relies on donors like you. Your support allows us to provide independent, trustworthy journalism and fact-based content. Show your support today by contributing on a monthly basis or making a single online donation.