Our English Works campaign elevates immigrants’ own voices among employers, community leaders, students, unions, and educators. Together, we advocate for greater public and private investment in English language learning programs and we help employers find cost-effective ways to offer English language learning classes in the workplace.

This work is critical to the Massachusetts economy. Immigrants comprise approximately 16 percent of the state’s population and 20 percent of the state’s labor force. They are twice as likely as native-born residents to become entrepreneurs and own approximately 30 percent of main street businesses in the Boston metro area.

Of the nearly 3.6 million people working in Massachusetts, approximately one in five (nearly 730,000 people) are limited English speakers. They are heavily concentrated in five industries that contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy: Health Care, Manufacturing and Hospitality, Educational Services, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.


English Works raises awareness among business leaders across multiple industries that when their immigrant employees can communicate in English, their rates of productivity increase due to better understanding of business goals, systems, and safety standards and protocols. And as English skills improve, error and turnover rates decline.

English Works assists employers and unions in finding low- to no-cost options to support their workforce by providing English for speakers of other language (ESOL) classes at work.

Our campaign encourages immigrant workers  to help identify businesses at which English classes are needed and participate in outreach and education events. We also encourage ESOL providers to contact businesses that employ their students and offer to find ways to provide ESOL instruction in the workplace.


  • Establish a dedicated, permanent, and flexible fund to support work-based ESOL programs
  • Increase the number of grants made by the MA Workforce Training Fund that provide immigrant workers with English skills to promote a positive, competitive economic environment
  • Increase funding for ESOL programs offered through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Modify ESOL programs offered through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education so that they are more responsive to the needs of the immigrant workforce and the state’s critical industries, including healthcare and education.
  • Support capacity building programs for ESOL providers so that they are better able to base instruction in the workplace.
  • Incentives to attract and retain businesses and to expand jobs in the Commonwealth that are offered by the state should contain specific provisions and funding for workforce development, including ESOL programs for low-literacy and limited English proficient workers.


To learn more about the English Works campaign, please contact Franklin Peralta at 617-982-6863 or fperalta@englishfornewbostonians.org