Adults in Dane County with low literacy often have limited access to meaningful employment. Literacy Network partners with area employers to provide adult literacy education to their employees in the workplace. Saris, the well-known manufacturer of bike racks and carriers, is one of those local partners. Saris provides for Literacy Network teachers to set up classes at their Verona Road headquarters and teach English to employees twice a week. The class curriculum is directly related to Saris and it’s specific manufacturing setting. For example, when practicing introductions and using pronouns in English, a student may introduce a classmate “His name is Homero, he is an assembler,” referring to Homero’s role in assembling Saris bike racks.
Through English learned in the class, Saris employees are better able to communicate on the job and succeed in tasks like filling out reports.
“The biggest difference I have seen is the confidence the employees in the ESL class have,” says Saris’ Director of Manufacturing Operations Josh Koehler. “They are willing to communicate in English and I can see in their faces the pride they have when they are able to do so.”
Stable, meaningful employment is a vital need for adults with low literacy in our community. By bringing education straight to the workplace, employers like Saris address that need head on.