Asking Your Company For An ESL Class

If you feel English support will help you in your job, your company may pay for it. And if your ESL co-workers also feel the same way, very likely your company will look into it. Companies pay for professional development; some, for personal development as well. In fact, many companies have tuition reimbursement for taking college classes. So if there is a group requesting a class onsite, there is a good chance your company will take you seriously.

It’s not uncommon now for Pacific Northwest companies to have ESL class onsite. It’s good for the company because their employees will improve their communication skills. So don’t worry about imposing on your company.

You can speak with someone in the Human Resources Department about this. If you’re not sure how to start the conversation, you can say something like this. “Some co-workers and I feel that it would be helpful for us to have an ESL class onsite. We want to contribute our ideas in meetings. Sometimes we may not be as articulate in English as we would like. Having someone come in to help take our English to the next level would help with that. Would you consider having an ESL class in the company?”

If you happen to know some good ESL teachers, you can even suggest those names to Human Resources. It will help them in their search. Any input from you would be helpful. If there are specific areas you would like the ESL class to address, let HR know. Maybe it’s technical English. Or maybe it’s understanding American work culture. Companies appreciate you wanting to increase your knowledge and improving your communication skills.

Ask HR if there’s anything you can do to help with their search. Make their job easier. And follow up. In case they get busy with something else, you can ask casually “How’s the search coming along?” It’ll help them remember to put your request higher on their to-do list.

Let’s say the company found someone to teach this class, and you learned a lot from it. Be sure to thank HR for organizing this. People want to feel appreciated, even if it’s part of their job. And if you want to have more ESL class, you can let HR know. Let them know what you have learned, and what else you would like to learn. Often the onsite ESL classes are around 10 to 11 weeks (equivalent to a quarter.) If you feel another 10 weeks would help, request it. HR needs your feedback to know how to proceed. That’s part of their evaluation of the program. Don’t wait for the company to ask for your feedback. Offer it.

A nice surprise would be that HR takes notice of your leadership in bringing up what is needed, and volunteering your feedback. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone takes notice and recruit you to another position in the company that you like even better?

If your company agrees to have an ESL class, the tips in the article ESL Training Class Or Individual Coaching will be helpful to your HR representative.

If you find this blog helpful, here is one on Tips for companies with international employees.

Estrella Chancoaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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