Three Jamaica Plain neighborhood business organizations have teamed up to help local merchants who speak languages other than English to brush up on their English business speak.
Egleston Square Main Street and Jackson Hyde Square Main Street have partnered with the YMCA of Greater Boston’s International Learning Center (ILC) and it’s Egleston Square branch to launch Boston’s first ever "Business English for Speakers of Other Languages."
“It’s frustrating to lose business just because of an accent, and it’s ultimately hurting my bottom line,” said Rosana Javier, Dominican Republican-born general manager of Latino’s Beauty Salon, in an emailed statement.
The 47-year-old has owned and operated the neighborhood salon for the past 20 years. She employs four women, all Spanish speakers and says that 90% of the clientele that she serves are Hispanic. But that’s about to change, the statement says.
“They recognize that English is extremely important to the survival of their business and they are taking it very seriously,” says Courtney Thomas, linguistics instructor at the Y’s ILC, a program that offers ESL classes in downtown Boston. “They are coming to class after putting in 12 hour days, working collaboratively - taking chances and are already starting to hear one another and correcting each other’s language. They know they have a long road ahead. The English language is so diverse that they only way to master it is through memorization.
The classes meet Monday and Tuesday nights; the course is in its third week.