C&D Zodiac, one of the largest employers in Santa Maria Valley is offering English Language Literacy classes for its employees in collaboration with Central Coast Literacy Council (CCLC). C&D Zodiac is the second employer to sign on to CCLC’s workplace learning initiative. Driscoll’s, a family owned and operated national distributor of berries was the first business partner starting in May of 2012. Hardy Diagnostics will be the third collaborative partner with classes beginning in September. CCLC’s Executive Director, Beth Wonson, says that she was first contacted by C&D Zodiac’s Training Coordinator, Stacey Limon, after she heard about Driscoll’s providing employees classes on the radio.

The first pilot group of 12 C&D Zodiac employees attended class on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. The learners have a range of English language abilities. CCLC Volunteer Tutor, Carol Dykstra of Nipomo, will be teaching the classes which will meet two times per week.  Dykstra has been a volunteer with CCLC teaching English as a second language since 2010.

Each learner fills out a form stating their reasons for wanting to improve their English.  “More and more we are seeing ‘To retain a job’ versus ‘To get a job’ as the reason people want to learn English”, says Wonson.  “CCLC is dedicated to working with Santa Maria Valley employers. We believe that when we reach learners in the workplace, we have a proactive role in lifting up the entire community and stabilizing the workforce”.

This first pilot class will run for 13 weeks although according to Wonson more than 200 of C&D’s 1,100 employees expressed interest in taking classes.  “We are very excited about this initiative and look forward to working with more and more of the progressive, community oriented employers in Northern Santa Barbara County like C&D Zodiac, Driscoll’s and Hardy Diagnostics”.

To learn how your company can provide classes, please contact Beth Wonson at CCLC at 925-0951 x837 or email bwonson@mypowerpipe.com.