World Languages Day
OverviewHosted by the Center for Urban Language Teaching and Research (CULTR), a U.S. Department of Education Title VI NFLRC, World Languages Day is an information fair highlighting the central role that global skills, particularly language proficiency, play in the growing opportunities for globally minded careers and services. Showcasing businesses and professions that value language expertise, this lively event connects 9th-12th grade students with leaders in international commerce, social services, and governmental agencies in order to raise student awareness of the benefits of language study and global competency and to help students create a “map” from language success to a future professional career.
One of the objectives of CULTR is to address what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called the “global skills gap” in the American workforce. With that in mind, we are striving to build an appreciation for global skills, language study, and cultural competency in the k-16 continuum. World Languages Day seeks to inform high school students about the importance of continuing their study of language and culture in college to better prepare them for a global economy. It is vital for students to hear the voices of business, non-profit organizations, and government agencies who value potential employees with language skills, study abroad experience, empathy for diversity, and cultural competence. Through an event such as World Languages Day, employers have an opportunity to guide students’ focus before they enter college and emphasize the skills they will need for success in a global economy.
Connecting Students to Leaders
Through each World Languages Day, CULTR connects hundreds of high school students to potential future employers. These organizations, represented by leaders across an array of sectors, underline the doors that open in their respective industries to global skills such as language proficiency.
Creating an opportunity for interested students and globally minded organizations to build a relationship, this event allows students to look ahead to what they need to succeed while enabling organizations to facilitate the growth of their future workforce. By catering to both the needs of ambitious students and the recruitment of talent for professionals in the industry, World Languages Day represents a chance to close the gap between students and their future industry. As evidenced in our prior event, this aspect has proven to be an extremely beneficial process for both parties involved, resulting in satisfied employers and experienced students.
Highlighting Language Skills Employers Seek
While higher education aims to produce graduates with the abilities companies need most, World Languages Day provides a head start and direct dialogue between young students and potential employers. By starting early, employers can lay the foundation for which aspiring students may build the skills that industry most covets. As highlighted in our first World Languages Day event, organizations looking ahead to the increasingly interconnected world have highlighted a global skillset and the associated abilities such as:
• Ability to work collaboratively
• Analytic thinking
• Communication skills
• Creative problem-solving
• Global mindset
• Leadership skills
Providing Resources to Land that Dream Job
World Languages Day enables students to explore informational tools, motivational activities, and discovery stations that highlight the benefits of language learning.
In the first World Languages Day, for example, Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) of the Department of Education, presented to high schoolers on the importance of foreign languages in today’s global marketplace. Mohamed, along with other leaders and event speakers, cover the perspectives of education, government, and business while expounding on the far-reaching impacts of language proficiency. These personal and direct connections- whether it be through an employer representative or speakers the students can approach afterwards- represents an instrumental tool for students planning for their futures.
CULTR invites your organization to participate in World Languages Day by sharing the story about how globalization and language proficiency interact in your organization to further business goals, reach international markets and make a difference in an increasingly interconnected world. This invitation is extended only to select organizations with a reputation for global initiatives. By sending representatives to World Languages Day or sponsoring activities, your organization has the opportunity to impact the education of hundreds of students.
If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact CULTR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Participation Matters…
…to Students and to the future.
In the foreword to the 2012 report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security from the Council on Foreign Relations, the authors assert a critical need for children who are prepared for a globalized world through a variety of skills, most importantly the acquisition of foreign languages.
While education offers individual opportunities alongside wider social benefits, access to education has become increasingly unequal, diverging along social class and, consequently racial, ethnic and gender lines. As a result, these students, many already underrepresented, are further marginalized and barred from participation in the opportunities presented by globalization.
To prepare our students for the future, we cannot do this alone. It is vital for students to hear the voices of organizations who value potential employees with language skills and cultural competence. Through an event such as World Languages Day, employers have an opportunity to guide students’ focus before they enter college and emphasize the skills they will need for success in a global economy.