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MSP employees first to complete new English language course

​Employees at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) who want to improve their English language skills have a new course available to them.

This winter, a group of 12 airport employees became the first to complete the 14-week English as a second language course, which the Metropolitan Airport's Commission offers at no cost to the employees or their employers.

The MAC's board recognized the 12 employees recently at a monthly meeting by awarding them certificates. 

MAC Board Chairman Dan Boivin congratulated the students on their achievement and encouraged them to take their skills to the next level, emphasizing that customer service is an important part of the MAC's mission, and that the airport's employees have helped bring the airport industry-leading awards.

The course is offered through the MAC's Customer Service Action Council (CSAC), with the employees meeting as a class once a week. They also complete online homework to further their skills.

The class was offered through the Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning in St. Paul, with instruction by Laura Temali. The Hubbs Center offers instruction to 700 students per day, with 70 different languages spoken by its students.

The positive experience for the first group of airport students and word-of-mouth about the program led to greater demand for the second offering of the language course. A group of 20 students is now three weeks into the 14-week English course.

"We're proud of the employees who are working to improve their language skills," said Liz Grzechowiak, assistant director of concessions and business development. "The program's ongoing popularity speaks to their commitment, which will benefit service quality for passengers."

The first week of the class focuses on assessing the students' current English language skills and then placing them in an appropriate level for instruction.

The language lessons at MSP focus on customer-service related exchanges, as the students in the first cohort work in a wide variety of jobs including food and beverage service, building maintenance and airline food preparation.

The language course is open to all airport employees on a first-come first-served basis.