WYOMING, Mich.-West Michigan McDonald's franchise owners are helping some of their employees go back to school. The workers, who all have a native language other than English, are taking a 22 week "English under the Arches" class. Fox 17 caught up with the students in the formal classroom setting in the back of the restaurant at 44th and Clyde Park in Wyoming on Monday. The class is taught partly by an English Second Language instructor in person, and partly online via webcast.
McDonald's Operations Consultant Lance Brewer told Fox 17 the class is about empowering the workers, while benefitting customers. "This is a big confidence booster for the employees who tend to shy away from having that conversation with the customer. This will give them the confidence and empower them. Having employees at the front counter who are capable of dealing with everybody is going to be important in improving the customer experience for sure," Brewer said. He added, "We want to make sure they're equipped not only to serve our customers here in the restaurant, but also to have a good conversation with their teachers, with their college teachers, or the teachers of their children. So English Under the Arches gives them the confidence to do that at work and their everyday life, and that's extremely important to us.
The English class is part of a bigger program called "Archway to Opportunity" that also enables employees to get their high school degree at no cost and provides tuition assistance for college. The "English Under the Arches" class started in June, and the students are scheduled to graduate in November.