Today we’re chatting with one of our founders, Patricia Machado, about how and why she started EnglishWorks! Patricia has over 10 years of nonprofit experience and, as a Brazilian living in New York City, she understands the power of knowing a second language and focus her efforts on creating innovative programs that will improve the lives of students and teachers in Brazil. Keep reading to learn more about Patricia’s passion for EnglishWorks and why her program has been so successful for young people in the communities we serve:
Co-Founders Patricia and Carolina speaking about EnglishWorks
What was the inspiration behind EnglishWorks?
The inspiration behind EnglishWorks was to create a way of opening doors for the communities in Rio so that they could be better connected with the world and create opportunities. We wanted to integrate the communities, which are so isolated by distance and (or) violence, and create a new community where everyone could look past that and learn together.
How did you choose the name EnglishWorks?
The name EnglishWorks comes from the idea that our English courses just work for our students—they actually help them to learn and speak English focused on communication to help students enter the job market.
What is the differentiator between EnglishWorks and other programs?
At EnglishWorks, we developed a unique way to integrate technology into our traditional curriculum in order to make the classes more meaningful. For example, our students use Skype to have one-on-one conversations each week with volunteers around the world, all of which are native English speakers. This is an opportunity our students never would have otherwise had and it gives them the chance to practice what they’re learning in a practical and interesting way. It also makes them learn faster and become more confident in their communication skills.
Where do you see EnglishWorks in 5 years?
We would like to expand EnglishWorks to have the course implemented throughout the country. We know that many people need this opportunity to learn English and technology and many companies need these qualified people to fill their entry level jobs.
What is the new Partnership Program you are starting?
We have noticed that many of our students talk about the hops of getting better positions in their jobs—or getting jobs at all—once they know enough English to communication with their company’s customers. We also know that companies have a difficult time finding qualified people, specially in our local communities.
In order to solve these two problems, we’ve decided to add a new component to EnglishWorks that will connect our students with technology and prepare them to get jobs at companies that sponsor our program. Our plan is to work with hundreds of young people from communities that are relevant to the specific companies that are sponsoring their program. In doing this, we’ll also talk about the values and goals of the companies with the students so that we can identity a good match between the students and the companies.
This selection process is extremely effective because it will allow us to observe the student’s behavior, their commitment, and their personality during the duration of their classes. We will also have the opportunity to see them grow from someone who, during the first week of class, may not necessarily be qualified for a job, into a good employment candidate in a matter of weeks.
Together with these partner companies, we’ll be giving a voice to someone who would have never otherwise had the chance and we’ll also being making social impact in the local communities that these businesses serve.