A sweet graduation for these sixteen

August 12, 2010
By

In the small press room in the old Logan Airport Tower, a group of employees gathered last Wednesday for a special event.

Sixteen Massport workers from East Boston and surrounding communities working various custodial jobs throughout the airport reached an important milestone, graduating from Massport’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL) class.

The proud group was honored with a small reception, diplomas and speeches from Massport’s top brass.

From East Boston Juana Iraheta, Maria Loza, Sixta Palacios and Danny Gomez all received diplomas Wednesday from the program.

“The 62-week ESL program is a critical investment in the people at the airport who are often times serve as our eyes and ears,” said Thomas J. Kinton, Jr., CEO and Executive Director, Massport. “Being comfortable in your working environment benefits not only the employee but provides for better overall customer experience.”

This program is tailored to the airport environment focusing on airport and security-specific components, such as the consequences of failure to implement security measures and what to do if a worker sees something out of the ordinary.

Massport’s ESL program recently received the Airport Minority Advisory Council’s “Award of the Organization.” The award, which recognizes programs promoting opportunities for minorities, was given at AMAC’s national annual diversity conference in New Orleans on June 22.

“We are proud and honored that our innovative program which enhances airport security, customer service and the quality of life for airport workers received this recognition,’’ said Kinton Jr.

The language program, which is a joint effort by Massport, UGL Unicco and SEIU Local 615, is tailored to the airport environment with half of the 64 classes focusing on airport and security-specific components, such as the consequences of failure to implement security measures and what to do if a worker sees something out of the ordinary.

The program was announced in February 2009 and dozens of UGL Unicco custodial employees applied and had their skills assessed. The first class was 32 weeks long (64 sessions) with 90 minute classes held twice a week. Many class members have been in the US for between 10 and 20 years with few opportunities to take English classes. The first class graduated in November and a second class started this year and will end this summer.

The AMAC Award of the Organization is given to an individual, airport, or a firm for significant contributions toward the realization of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and/or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals on an airport.

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