McDonald’s celebrated the newest graduating class of ‘English Under the Arches’, an English language learning course for non-native speaking employees, with a ceremony in their honor on Wednesday in Lakewood, NJ. Eleven Monmouth and Ocean County managers and manager trainees –who immigrated from Mexico and Peru and range in age from their early 20s to mid-50s—were recognized by supervisors and colleagues for successfully completing the course.
The graduation ceremony coincided with the one year anniversary of McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity, a set of programs developed to support restaurant employees across the country in pursuing their educational goals, whether it’s earning their high school diploma, pursuing a college degree or learning English. More than 5,000 restaurant employees are currently enrolled in Archways to Opportunity nationwide. Locally, 45% of restaurants in the New York Tri-State Area have an employee utilizing the programs.
‘English Under the Arches’ courses are offered free of charge to eligible McDonald’s employees and the 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 ‘English Under the Arches’ have been identified as high-potential managers who would provide continued value and would progress rapidly with the aid of language training.
The eleven graduates of “English Under the Arches” are:
- Aida Arellanes, 30, Keyport, NJ
- Norberta Campos, 38, Bricktown, NJ
- Silvina Castillo, 35, Toms River, NJ
- Fortunata Flores, 39, Toms River, NJ
- Araceli Velazquez Galindo, 23, Matawan, NJ
- Nilza Gordillo, 55, Toms River, NJ
- Aide Hernandez, 32, Toms River, NJ
- Erika Jarana, 27, Seaside Heights, NJ
- Veronica Perez, 33, Seaside Heights, NJ
- Nereyda Ortiz Rios, 24, Keansburg, NJ
- Patricia Torres, 38, Matawan, NJ
“I signed up for ‘English Under the Arches’ to improve my English so I can communicate better with my customers,” said Fortunata Flores, a manager at a Toms River McDonald’s franchise restaurant who learned about the program through her colleagues. “This is just the first step and I look forward to enrolling in other Archways to Opportunity programs.”
“I want to improve my English so I can help my son with his homework someday,” said Silvina Castillo, a manager and first-time mom who plans to pursue her high school diploma through Archways to Opportunity. “I want to be a role model to him and my coworkers.”
“Archways to Opportunity provides our employees the chance to advance their education and further their careers through a range of incredible programs,” said Linda Chapman, a McDonald’s franchisee with four ‘English Under the Arches’ graduates. “It’s exciting to see our people taking advantage of these initiatives and unlocking their true potential, which not only benefits themselves but also their families and our community.”
McDonald’s is committed to leading the industry in promoting comprehensive workforce education in a way that helps employees succeed no matter where they might be on their educational journey. The company aims to use its scale to be part of the solution to close the education gap in this country and they are listening to employee feedback to make developmental programs successful.