Skip to content

Airport employees complete MSP's Workforce English course

Said Omar was among a group of students who recently completed the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s Workforce English course, and Omar is following up that experience with plans for additional learning outside the MAC.

“The class was very interesting,” said Omar, who works for Enterprise Rent-a-Car at Terminal 1. “It focuses on workforce English and how to help people.”

The program recently signed up enrollees for the next section of the course, which starts this month. So far, 24 employees at MSP Airport (MSP) are taking advantage of the opportunity, which is offered at no charge.

(You can enroll in the Workforce English courses on the first day of classes, Tuesday, March 10, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, March 11, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The classes are held in Terminal 1, Room LT-3185, above Black Sheep Pizza. For more information, email

“The language class continues to be popular. We’re pleased employees are eager to improve their language skills,” said Hae Eun Park, co-chair of the MSP Jobs Committee, which developed and implemented the language course. “It’s a benefit for the employees and, ultimately, MSP passengers as well.”

The course includes one classroom session each week for four months, along with regular homework.

The MAC coordinates the Workforce English program with the Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning in St. Paul, which is part of the St. Paul Public School system and offers a variety of courses for adult learners. The center each day instructs about 700 students, who speak 70 different languages.

Many of the students in the airport’s course are recent immigrants to the United States who work in retail, restaurant or commercial jobs at MSP. (The very first group of airport employees completed the 14-week course in early 2019.)

Omar, 39, immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia in 2015. A native of Somalia, he had fled that country’s civil war and grew up in Ethiopia, where he earned a college degree in animal science.

The airport course’s content helps to improve vocabulary and grammar, Omar said, with an emphasis on customer service skills. The instruction includes fine-tuning of accents as well.

In Ethiopia, Omar said, English is spoken with a British accent. In the Workforce English course, students received instruction on how to improve their American accent along with their conversational skills.

Omar worked for many years for Save the Children, an international organization that works to help children survive and develop. The organization’s Ethiopia operation is its largest globally, with 2,400 staff and 50 offices across the country. Omar worked in animal husbandry, caring for and breeding animals that serve as livestock.

His wife and children immigrated to the U.S. ahead of him and petitioned for him to join them. He arrived in the U.S. in 2015, and is the father of five children, ranging in age from 11 months to 11-years-old. Omar started work at Enterprise at MSP in 2017, where he works as a driver at the company’s location at Terminal 1.

Omar is now looking to further his education, with plans to enroll in a six-month IT course later this year, which will update his computer-related skills.