WHEEL Makes a Difference
The Chamber's Worksite Held Employee English Learning (WHEEL) program has been offered at numerous businesses countywide and always makes an impact on both the businesses that offer the classes and the employees that take advantage of the opportunity.
A Win, Win, Win
This [program] is a win, win, win for all parties. In addition to being ultra convenient for our employee/students, our ESL employees become more comfortable communicating in English at work and at large, we communicate manufacturing process language at a higher level of accuracy internally, and the community benefits by having more bi-lingual capable members. Win, win, win!
— Andy Gravelle, COO, EMG, Inc.
Making a Difference
[The students] said when they came into my class on the first night, that they were very nervous and felt very ashamed that they couldn't read or write that well ... [or] say anything to me in English. They said that even though it may not seem like they are learning, ... that they are learning, because they have noticed they can understand what the guests are saying much better, and can understand the things I am saying in class that they couldn't understand before.
A couple of them even broke down and cried when they thanked me for my patience and for teaching them. [One student] said, "I always wanted to go to school to learn English, but I didn't think I could. I didn't think I could learn, and now, thanks to you and this class, I know I can." The WHEEL program is making a difference in a lot of people's lives and giving them an opportunity they wouldn't have otherwise had or taken advantage of, so thank you.
— WHEEL ESL Instructor
A Very Big Deal
For the first time, [I] was able to talk to an American in English, and he understood. That was a very big deal to [me].
— Maria Gallardo, Employee, Filtration Group
This will build stronger communication with guests and co-workers and build confidence in our employees. I can’t imagine what it would be like to work somewhere and not speak the language. The employees jumped on this opportunity.
— Dawn Stirling, Human Resources Director, Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
Helping Careers and Helping at Home
Leadership development and being a learning organization are two doctrines written into our strategic plan. We wanted to be a resource to help advance career-wise, as well as help at home.
— Jonna Greene, Vice President, La Tortilla Factory
A Real Difference
I have noticed a real difference in my housekeepers when I am speaking to them. I have also noticed they have more confidence in themselves and don't run away from guests when they feel they are going to be approached. I strongly feel that this program has made a real difference in both their work and personal lives.
— Todd Anderson, General Manager, Best Western Plus Wine Country Inn & Suites
Benefits for a Lifetime
Having a strong command for the English language is critical to success. Whether you are communicating with co-workers or talking with your child’s teacher, you will use the language skills you have studied [through the WHEEL program].
— Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
For More Information:
Contact Ananda Sweet at (707) 636-3662.
Special Thanks to:
First 5 Sonoma County for providing funding for the WHEEL Plus elements of this program.