Ronna Timpa doesn’t view her company, Workplace ESL Solutions, as just a business that teaches English to non-English-speaking employees.
Timpa and her instructors instill workplace confidence.
“There are all the soft skills, such as making eye contact and shaking hands firmly,” said Timpa, who has been designing workplace education courses for more than two decades.
“We prepare our students to do a presentation in front of the class,” Timpa said. “You gain confidence by speaking to a group. Confidence is the key to success.”
Workplace ESL is Las Vegas-based, but Timpa has taught courses in Reno, and throughout California and Texas and Mexico.
The business was started to educate non-English-speaking hotel workers and provide them with enough English skills to be successful in the workplace. She has worked with most of the major resorts on the Strip, tailoring programs for housekeepers, kitchen workers and back-of-the-house employees.
Timpa said non-English-speaking employees will often have contact with a customer or a hotel guest.
“We practice and teach language skills the employees will use in everyday life,” she said. “The idea is to give employees better control over their day-to-day situation and improve their job prospects and skills.
In many instances, the employees have left a country where they were highly educated but have come to the U.S. and are limited because of their language skills.
One kitchen worker at New York-New York who Timpa met in a class had eight years of secondary education, but the lack of English skills was holding him back.
“When workers emerge with greater language skills, it enhances the business,” Timpa said.
Since opening her business, which she runs out of her home, Timpa has branched out.
Workplace ESL Solutions provides English as a Second Language books and develops workshops and training courses designed for English and/or Spanish.
In addition to hotels, Timpa said the program can be used in hospitals, by the construction industry and by laundry facilities.
A new service offered is business writing workshops, which help ESL employees understand the importance of internal and external communications.
Workplace ESL also has a partnership with Vegas PBS for Hotel English Online, a course designed for small companies that might not have the manpower or facilities to offer training programs.
Timpa oversees the workshops and represents the company for the international organization, Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL).
Timpa also volunteers with Housekeeping Olympics in Las Vegas.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.