Love First, English Second

EF Hello
EF Hello
May 17, 2019 · 3 min read

When immigrants and refugees come to the U.S. seeking security and opportunity, they leave a lot behind — family, careers, professional networks, and their native language. For many newcomers, English proficiency is one of the biggest hurdles to re-establishing a career. Upwardly Global — a national nonprofit that helps newcomers integrate into the professional workforce — is working to ensure that these talented men and women are able to fully contribute their skills to the U.S.

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From Mexico to the United States

When Sofia immigrated from her home country of Mexico to the United States in 2017, she left behind a successful 15-year career working as the Chief of Energy Saving Training Department for Federal Commission of Electricity, Public Utility and Energy and then as a consultant at the Center for Sustainable Energy. She came to the U.S. seeking security and a fresh start after ending a difficult marriage.

Sofia settled with friends in the suburbs of New York City and began to rebuild her life. She was not expecting what happened next — that she would meet a man who was authentic and kind, and who would soon become her husband. She loved her new life in the U.S., but one thing was still missing — the meaningful career she had worked so hard to build.

Let’s Get to Work

Sofia was a dynamic, driven, professional. With full work authorization and two master’s degrees from her home country, she was eager to re-enter the workforce. But soon after seeking employment she realized the greatest hurdle that stood in her way was her limited English-language skills. Securing a job fit for her skills and experience was going to be a significant challenge without a more advanced level of English.

“I went to the U.S. Department of Labor in my town and had this conversation with the advisory product counselor”

Sofia shares.

“The lady told me that I could maybe apply for the job of secretary because my English wasn’t so good. I was in shock.”

Onward with Upwardly Global

Enter Upwardly Global (UpGlo). An organization that provides innovative skill-building and networking programs to support newcomers in rebuilding careers, and partners with employers to help them create inclusive hiring practices and work environments. To date, UpGlo has assisted more than 6,000 newcomers back into professional roles, unlocking opportunity and filling critical gaps in local workforces.

“Upwardly Global provided me with all the tools I needed to improve my interview skills, and provided constant encouragement so that I could succeed,”

Sofia recalls.

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After studying English through a variety of other programs and mediums, and completing several English courses, Sofia still wasn’t satisfied with her English level. UpGlo introduced Sofia to EF Hello, a free app developed as the definitive tool to learn English through conversation.

“EF Hello has been an incredible tool for our program participants as they navigate a professional job search in the U.S.”

“Improving their English proficiency has opened so many doors, and demonstrates that language can truly be a key to unlocking social and professional opportunities.”

Cecilia Connor, Manager of ESL and Education Projects with Upwardly Global.

For Sofia, EF Hello has been the key to improved English proficiency and, in turn, readiness to re-enter the workforce in a position that aligns with her experience level. EF Hello addresses a curriculum that Sofia’s English courses and other language-learning programs were missing.

“I enjoy using EF Hello because of what they are teaching, but also because of the way they teach it,”

Sofia explains.

“They make it easy to learn English.”

Sofia is excited for her future; with a strong English language foundation from EF Hello and tailored coaching from UpGlo, she feels prepared to enter the US workforce in her field of expertise.

To download EF Hello today visit:

EF Hello

EF Hello

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