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English as a Second Language (ESL)

In January 2005, the University of Virginia became one of the first employers in the area to offer on-site English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to employees.

This unique benefit was the result of a partnership between Facilities Management and Housing who identified a need for improved English language skills for a significant number of their employees.

Our arrangement with the Thomas Jefferson Adult and Career Education (TJACE) Adult Learning Center to teach two levels of ESL classes has attracted many students.

With workforce diversity on the rise, the native languages of our ESL students range from Swahili to Tibetan to Vietnamese, just to name a few.

Stronger speaking and reading skills not only improve communication in general, but also assure better understanding of labels, signs and direction which enhances both employee safety and customer service.

Each year, approximately 20 employees participate in the ESL program. Taught by instructors from the Adult Learning Center, classes are offered on-site during working hours in the fall, winter and spring quarters.

As a testament to the achievements of ESL students, the UVA ESL classes have had multiple winners in Voices of Adult Learners, a Virginia Festival of the Book event which features the work of ESL and GED students.

Enrollment process

ESL enrollment for the Sept.-June academic year occurs in August. Since class attendance is required during working hours, employees interested in ESL classes must request their supervisor’s approval.

Each year, Facilities Management notifies employees of the ESL class enrollment period and deadlines. It is at this time that an employee and their supervisor must review expectations and responsibilities of attending the class. Past participants must re-enroll each year.