Multi-Year Grant Awarded to Expand Workplace Program in Tourism and Hospitality Sector

Multi-Year Grant Awarded to Expand Workplace Program in Tourism and Hospitality Sector

“This is a great partnership between the tourism community, Maryland Commerce, and our federal partners  at the U.S. EDA. We are pleased to award this grant and look forward to seeing these projects come to fruition.”

Maryland Commerce Secretary Kevin A. Anderson

The Literacy Council of Frederick County has been awarded a multi-year grant through the Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of Tourism, to expand workplace English classes for hospitality and tourism businesses as part of its Workplace Literacy Program. This program teaches job-related English language skills to Frederick County employees in all business sectors, an initiative that is based on the vision that a more English-fluent and literate staff results in lasting benefits for the businesses, employees, the Frederick County community, and the overall economic well-being of our region.  The funding for this grant is from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, which used American Rescue Plan funding.

The Workplace Literacy Program is a collaborative partnership between the Literacy Council of Frederick County and local businesses to provide English-language classes for their workforce, at the workplace. The program provides the training and basic skills necessary for employees to maintain their careers or achieve promotions, make current jobs easier, and their work more efficient. As a result of the grant, the Literacy Council is now recruiting local hospitality employers interested in providing classes for their employees starting this fall, with additional winter and spring sessions planned, and over the upcoming years of the grant’s implementation. Interested employers should contact the Literacy Council’s Workplace Literacy Program representatives at (301) 600-2066 or

The Workplace Literacy Program team works closely with each business to identify prospective students, their potential career paths, and the industry-specific skills to help them get there. From general vocabulary and conversational phrases to business-related language and HR terminology, the program team works directly with each employer to create a customized program. Employees receive textbooks, workbooks, and classroom materials, setting them up for success. Guided by an English-language teacher from the Literacy Council, students begin the program and take classes on-site at the business. The length of each class and number of classes depends upon the English language proficiency of the employees, and specific business needs. Through participation in the program, students will gain new skills and the confidence to enhance the customer experience, work more effectively with coworkers and supervisors, grow in their career, and improve their quality of life.

“The Literacy Council and their extremely successful Workplace Literacy Program is critical to the viability of our local tourism industry and the overall hospitality workforce in Frederick County,” said Dave Ziedelis, Executive Director of Visit Frederick. “We very much appreciate our long-standing partnership with the Literacy Council and look forward to our continued and collaborative growth.” The Tourism Council presented its Ambassador of the Year Award in 2020 to the Literacy Council in recognition of its work on behalf hospitality workers.

“One of the training opportunities we are most proud to provide our hourly associates is the workplace English program conducted by the Literacy Council. After five years of partnering with the Literacy Council, we have observed higher levels of engagement and retention of all associates who have participated in this program. We have also been so pleased to watch the success and growth of our team members, who walk away from the program more confident in their work, and most importantly, their daily lives. It’s truly amazing how effective and rewarding it has been for our workforce.”   Michael Henningsen, Executive Vice President of Hotel Operations, Plamondon Hospitality Partners

Learn more HERE about the benefits to employers and employees of having a more literate, English-speaking workforce, including improved attendance on the job, increased employee retention and morale, better safety records, and stronger relationships among workers.

Since its founding sixty years ago in 1963 to teach seasonal migrant workers to read, , the Literacy Council of Frederick County’s core mission has been driven by the fundamental belief that literacy lifts lives, providing pathways for adults in Frederick County to learn English language skills through a collective community approach. Programs include one-to-one and small-group sessions, community classes, and classes held at places of employment. These important language skills lift lives, helping students to provide for their families and shape a full path to a thriving life.