English @ Work Program Celebrates Employee Graduates’ Accomplishments

After 10 weeks of immersing themselves in the English language, students of Andersen’s English as a second language program, called “English @ Work,” were celebrated at a graduation ceremony honoring their accomplishments.

The program has given employees — many of whom work on the 100 Series window line in Bayport, Minnesota — the opportunity to learn English on the clock in an accessible way while instilling a sense of pride. "I feel honor to be in this class," said Akway Nygow, a 100 Series Bayport employee and graduate of the program.

The students' favorite part about the program was understanding about their benefits, learning safety signs, filling out an application and exploring different parts of a door.

A Sense of Pride

Employees passed their final exam with feelings of happiness and self-confidence just prior to the graduation ceremony. The graduates were met with a completion certificate from their teacher, Heather Ferguson from Great Rivers Adult Education, along with a gift from Andersen's learning and development team, led by manager Julie Strommen.

"I never tire of wiping away tears as I watch our amazing students share how much this onsite English program means to them," Julie said.

The ceremony was a time to share the employees' experience, reflecting on what the English @ Work program meant to them. Emmanuel Ntouba, originally from Cameroon, shared that he took the English class to improve his communication with others. "When I start the class, I didn’t know nobody, some speak English very fast. Now it’s very easy for me to understand. Read newspaper. Watch TV."

Expanding English as a Second Language Programs

The English @ Work program at Andersen’s Storm Doors plant in Des Moines, Iowa, also celebrated its employee’s graduation after building a program in collaboration with the Iowa Welcome Center for ESL courses.

The graduation ceremony took place right after finishing the post-reading test. Manufacturing Operations Manager Jacob Smith thanked English @ Work learners for their time and effort in increasing their communication skills that can better understand each other on the shop floors.

Posted: June 7, 2023