ACHRNEWS

Feb. 21, 2007: New English-as-a-Second-Language Tool for Building Industry

February 21, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. - A new self-paced learning program is now available to help the home building industry's 2.5 million Hispanic workers learn English. Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition, sponsored by Lowe's, was custom-created by the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), to address job site communication challenges presented by the language barrier.

Sed de Saber-Construction Edition uses a seven-book, fully interactive curriculum to teach Spanish-speaking workers a functional level of English language conversation and comprehension. It runs on LeapFrog Quantum Pad™ technology, enabling users to record, play back, and compare their pronunciation to that of the words and phrases they are learning. The complete curriculum teaches sentence structure, 500 vocabulary words and 340 phrases, covering basic life skills such as following driving directions, as well as detailed job-site scenarios, tools, equipment, and scheduling. To address safety-related issues because of the language barrier, the program's seventh book focuses entirely on safety practices, mirroring the NAHB/OSHA Job Site Safety Handbook protocols.

"Sed de Saber-Construction Edition is an opportunity for builders to take a leadership role as it relates to a critical workforce issue for our industry," said Mike Sivage, immediate past chairman for HBI and a leading force behind the effort. "Empowering workers to learn English can impact safety, communication, and quality, as well as boost loyalty, recruitment, and morale."

The program allows workers to practice on their own time, at their own pace, and in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Each learning system comes with a pre-, mid-, and post-program skills assessment, so employers can evaluate their employees' progress. Workers who follow the study guidelines of 30 minutes each day will complete the program in four months.

Developed by a team of superintendents, trade skills experts, builders and remodelers, Sed de Saber-Construction Edition meets government learning standards set forth by the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. Sed de Saber-Construction Edition will be available for sale and delivery March 1, 2007. The system includes one Quantum LeapPad Plus Microphone, seven books with cartridges, headset, power adapter, carrying case and pre-, mid-, and post-skills assessments. The system retails for $395 for NAHB members and $495 for non-members. Lowe's customers can order the kit with a $40 discount through the LowesForPros.com Website. Additional skills assessment packages can be purchased for $75 each.

Publication date: 02/19/2007