Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Empowers Hispanic Workforce

Richmond, Va. — The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, that works to proactively provide its members with business opportunities and resources, announced the launch of its on-line English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at a press event held on October 15, 1-2 p.m., at the General Assembly Building’s House Briefing Room in Richmond.

Through the program, some 50 participants will have access to this free on-line English training course offered at the Chamber’s offices.

“The economy depends on having a ready workforce,” says Michel Zajur, President and CEO, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We are meeting the needs of our members by giving them the tools required for them to be marketable, and by reducing the number of jobs that employers can’t fill because of language barriers.”

Depending on their level of English, participants who take the online ESL training course will be able to improve their vocabulary skills, obtain a basic foundation of speaking and understanding English, and increase their self-confidence in 3 months. AT&T contributed $10,000 to sponsor the participants of this new pilot program.

“I applaud the VA Hispanic Chamber for its leadership in addressing all of the skills — including language — that are needed for the Hispanic workforce to succeed.” said Senator John C. Watkins (R-10). “And I applaud AT&T for being a good corporate citizen and funding such an important program.” Senator Watkins will join the VA Hispanic Chamber, AT&T and class participants at the October 15 press event.

The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Spanish Academy & Cultural Institute, a Richmond-based small business that specializes in language and cultural programs to roll out this initiative. The Institute matched AT&T’s contribution to cover the instructional training, manuals and technical support.

“People need to be prepared to effectively compete in today’s workforce,” said J. Michael Schweder, President, AT&T Mid-Atlantic Region. “We are proud to support a program that uses online technology to give users the language education they’ll need to increase their opportunities of employment.”

AT&T and the AT&T Foundation support efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly initiatives with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations.

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