Thought Leadership

Engaging English Language Learners

By Linshuang Lu

The United States is growing more diverse, both ethnically and linguistically. In 2010, the U.S. Census reported that 20% of the U.S. population spoke a language other than English at home. The Pew Research Center, extrapolating current trends, predicts that by 2050 one in five Americans will be an immigrant. Many ESOP companies reflect this diversity in their workforces, where some employees may speak limited English.

Ensuring that these English Language Learner (ELL)[1] employees understand employee ownership and are treated like owners, is important to developing their skills and talents for the company. This chapter shares examples from companies that actively reach out to their ELL employees and identifies principles for leveraging a linguistically diverse workforce to improve company performance.

[1]“ELL” stands for English Language Learner and refers to anyone who is in the process of learning English. The person could be starting to learn English or could be near fluent. “ESL” or English as a Second Language” is often used interchangeably with ELL, though they have slightly different meanings in education contexts.

Chapter 5, ESOP Communications Sourcebook, National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), 7th Edition, 2018

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