‘Learn and be successful’: Over 100 local tourism workers completed ESOL classes.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Over 100 local hospitality workers celebrated a remarkable accomplishment.


Orange County, Rosen Hotels, and the University of Central Florida started a pilot program earlier this year to help hospitality workers strengthen their talents.

On Tuesday, the room was full of smiles from ear to ear as dozens of I-Drive workers received well-deserved recognition.

One after another, the local workers were recognized.

This time, not for their hard work on the job but for their accomplishments in the classroom.

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The English for Speakers of Other Languages pilot program or EPIC offered language instruction in the I-Drive corridor for those workers looking to excel in the hospitality industry in the tourism hub of Orange County.

Students from different countries received the opportunity to learn English to advance their careers.

Thanks to the program, workers didn’t have to choose between learning and making a living, as the classes were at Rosen Resorts.

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Karen Daza was a child psychologist in Colombia before moving to Central Florida.

“It’s very important for me,” she said. “In this moment, I feel very excited for this event.”

Franklin Perez was in the Air Force when he decided to move here from the Dominican Republic.

He said learning English will open doors for him and his family.

“I’m going to show my kids that they can do it-- and other people from other countries,” he said. “We can learn and be successful.”

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One hundred twenty students graduated Tuesday morning - this is just the beginning of the pilot program.

The program has been approved for a fourth cycle.

I-Drive employers, IMA Medical Group, and Paramount Hospitality Group will offer employees the opportunity to learn English on the job.

The goal is to make this program permanent in Central Florida.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

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