LYNN — Peter Mikedis was one of a handful of executives celebrated for teaching immigrant workers English.
The CEO of Sidekim Foods, a Lynn-based caterer, said it’s a win-win for workers and employers.
“We host the classes here, we bring the teachers, and we pay the workers for their time,” he said. “The biggest benefits are that it’s helping people, improving worker longevity and improving their lifestyle. It’s a benefit for everyone.”
Mikedis and four other businesses were honored this week as Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta presented awards to Bay State businesses offering English as a Second Language classes in the workplace.
“My parents were educators in Cuba, but they didn’t speak English and didn’t have licenses to teach here,” she said. “My mom worked in a sweater assembly line. My dad worked in a machine shop. They survived and got their master’s degree as adults. It took them 12 years to get back to their teaching careers.”
Acosta called on all businesses to access training funds available through the state to support English classes. She said
A workforce training fund of $23 million annually from the Department of Labor can be used for English learners.
Sidekim Foods partnered with the World Education to create an English language program for their workers at their facility on Sanderson Avenue.
Other businesses offering English language classes in the workplace that were honored were MilliporeSigma, Piantedosi Baking Co., United Electric Controls, and a consortium of childcare business owners in Jamaica Plain and organized by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp.
English for New Bostonians helps employers apply for state funding through the Workforce Training Fund and to identify partners that can teach customized English classes.