Local company offers free English lessons to Spanish-speaking employees

MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – Gunderson Uniform and Linen Rental is giving its employees the gift of learning a new language.

Carolina Perez is one of about 30 students taking time out of their busy day for an English class. The students in the class are all Spanish speakers.

“My goal is to study English for a better future,” said Carolina Perez, one of the students.

Perez said she was originally from Mexico and had been in the United States for 10 years. On Thursday, she and her classmates had a grammar lesson on the different tenses of the verb “to be.”

The students are employees of Gunderson Uniform and Linen Rental in Menasha. The company has partnered with the Fox Valley Literacy Council to make the courses possible.

“It’s good to see people on their journey and be a part of it,” said Heather Chantelois-Kashal, program manager for the Fox Valley Literacy Council.

What connects all these students is the belief that learning English will help them improve their lives.

“They work hard not only at work, but also around this table to learn English, a life skill they will take with them into the future,” said Sara Gunderson, owner of Gunderson Uniform and Linen Rental.

“We know when people come here it’s because they really make it a priority,” Chantelois-Kashal said.

Classes last for twelve weeks, and Perez and other students tell Local Five News that so far, so far, is going well. These students sacrifice family time, social activities and rest to attend these classes.

Gunderson Uniform and Linen covers the cost of the courses so that they are free for their employees.

Gladys T. Hensley