Course for Spanish speaking employees doubles in size

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Homero Torres’ workday doesn’t end after he clocks out — instead, he heads to class.

Torres and 29 other TCU employees are in Human Resource’s English as a second language course for employees. The program was relaunched last year to help the Spanish speaking staff master the English Language.

The class, which began with 12 students, has doubled in size and added an intermediate level.

“The class [has] been helping a lot, especially in my work,” Torres said. “My favorite part of this class is learning more English. I am learning [to do] a better job and if it’s possible to be promoted.”

For others, it’s not just about promotions — it’s about becoming proficient.

Elizabeth Ramirez, who’s also in the intermediate class, said she worked with an interpreter in high school and never mastered English.

“I didn’t have a chance to really learn like I wish I could have because we always depended on another person,” said Ramirez, who immigrated to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico. “For me, English is very complicated. Now, I can be with other people and learn from them.”

Students in the beginners class focus on basic concepts such as learning the alphabet and introducing simple grammar. The intermediate class works on topics such as past, present and future tenses as well as advancing their comprehension skills.

“I think it is important to give them the opportunity to have a chance to learn and to grow in their language skills,” said Barbara Alvarez, an instructor in the intensive English program.

Students can volunteer to serve as speaking partners in the program.

“They speak a little Spanish and a little English to each other so they can share,” Alvarez said. “It makes the employees feel important in another way because they’re passing on a skill to the students. The class just has a lot of benefits.”

Human Resources plans to expand multi-level offerings by thanks to the positive response of campus support, supervisor recommendations and employees.