The Spanish solution

By Emilie Thielen

Businesses rely on a skilled workforce, and in the face of constant change, developing talent and fostering innovation is imperative. Wisconsin’s Moraine Park Technical College strives to meet the needs of local businesses, and in October 2022, Moraine Park’s training partnership with Karavan Trailers offered new solutions to unforeseen challenges.

When giving presentations to his staff, Karavan’s owner, Doug Clark, typically provided Spanish-translated slides for his Hispanic employees. While this seemed to work fine, Clark knew there had to be a more effective strategy out there.

Karavan’s partnership with Moraine Park to offer supervisory training gave Clark the opportunity to try something new. To ensure that Karavan’s Spanish-speaking employees received the full training experience, the course was offered in Spanish–a first for both the College and Karavan Trailers. The increase in engagement from Spanish-speaking employees was noticed immediately.

“The engagement from participants is exponentially better than when they receive information through translation,” Clark said.

“The ability to hear tone of voice and voice inflections offers a comfort level beyond compare. Plus, the willingness to offer training in a language other than English shows employees that everyone is welcome and can advance in their profession at Karavan.”

The majority of Karavan’s team is Spanish speaking. Of the company’s 11 production lines, eight of them are run exclusively by Spanish speakers.

“This training has brought an increased recognition that Karavan is committed to opportunities for those who may speak a different language, and those opportunities are available to people who work hard and show initiative,” Clark said.

Karavan is not the only local business adapting to meet employee needs. With an 87% Spanish-speaking workforce, Specialty Cheese partnered with Moraine Park to offer Critical Core training and Microsoft Excel Level 1 fully in Spanish.

“It is important to our company to offer training in the language that employees understand,” Patty Sanchez-Walker, human resource manager at Specialty Cheese, said. “We care about our employees, and we want them to succeed in their jobs and grow in our company. Offering the trainings in Spanish has a huge impact on the business because our employees are more proactive, their performance improves and overall training creates good morale in the departments.”

Earlier this year, Seneca Foods partnered with Moraine Park to offer Spanish in the Workplace and Supervision 101 in Spanish.

This article was originally posted here.

Emilie Thielen

is a communications specialist at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.