Sixteen managers and manager trainees from McDonald’s restaurants across the tri-state area became New Jersey’s first graduating class of English Under the Arches (EUA), an English as a Second Language (ESL) program specifically designed to help employees advance in their careers. A graduation ceremony was held in the class’ honor in Fairfield, NJ, celebrating their completion of the eight-week curriculum, which included courses in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-50s, the graduates came from El Salvador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Peru.
EUA courses are offered free of charge to eligible McDonald’s employees and eligible employees of participating franchisees. The courses teach students the English they need to communicate effectively and confidently with customers and staff on a daily basis. Employees who are selected to participate in EUA have been identified as high-potential managers who would provide continued value and progress rapidly with the aid of language training. Classes are held during work hours and student-employees receive regular wages for the time they spend in EUA.
Marcos Quesada, Vice President of McDonald’s NY Metro, shared with the graduates his personal experience of coming to the U.S. from Nicaragua 29 years ago without knowing the English language. He started working at McDonald’s as a crew member and has been with the Golden Arches ever since. Marcos congratulated the class and encouraged them to continue their hard work and not give up.
“English Under the Arches is a fantastic program that equips my managers with the necessary language skills to succeed,” said Nellie Thomas, a McDonald’s franchisee who operates the restaurants where the graduates are employed. “It has given them more confidence to communicate with the customers and their staff.”
“I’m thankful to McDonald’s for the opportunity to improve my English,” said restaurant manager Charles Morillo, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic 6 years ago. “I already understand a lot more now than when I first started the class.”
The sixteen graduates of English Under the Arches are:
- Marie Bremise Andre, 42, Nyack, NY
- Paola Arevalo, 22, Paterson, NJ
- Nancy Casco, 26, Ramsey, NJ
- Manuel A. Delgado, 31, Paterson, NJ
- Concepcion Hernandez, 40, Ramsey, NJ
- Rose Andre Hypolite, 34, East Orange, NJ
- Gloria Lemus, 32, Nyack, NY
- Carmen M. Lombardi, 31, Passaic, NJ
- Gerarda Mejia, 30, Ramsey, NJ
- Leticia C. Morales, 26, Boonton, NJ
- Charles Morillo, 28, Boonton, NJ
- Bernadette Nazario, 40, Ramsey, NJ
- Claudia Osis, 30, Clifton, NJ
- Adriana Perez, 32, Passaic, NJ
- Herminia Santana, Nyack, NY
- Josette Vilfranche, 54, Nyack, NY
The first EUA graduation took place earlier this year in Bridgeport, CT.
English Under the Arches is part of McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity™, which promotes workforce education to ensure employee success and advancement. In addition to EUA, other Archways to Opportunity programs include high school completion, tuition assistance and education advising. Click here to learn more about English Under the Arches.