Closings and delays

McDonald’s provides ESL program for employees

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Mardalia Flores seems to flow through her work with ease.

“I got two Big Macs ready for you and a large tea," she says, leaning out the window of her McDonald’s restaurant in Winston-Salem.

But even that simple phrase would’ve been difficult for her just a year ago. When she first came from Mexico, she says she knew a grand total of three words in English.

“You want to say this or that, but you just don’t know how,” she explains.

Then she joined the English as a Second Language program that McDonald’s provides for its employees and, after 22-weeks of hard work, she is proficient enough to not only communicate with her co-workers, she can come out from behind the counter and assist customers as they come into the store.

McDonald’s appreciates that, but their goal goes far beyond improving their employees’ work production.

“For these employees who've come through these programs, now they've learned English,” says Zachary Hayes, of the McDonald’s corporation. “It benefits them not only under the arches in the restaurant, but also in their personal lives as well.”

“These classes will help you everywhere you go in life, to the banks, the schools with your children,” says Sherrie Alcon, who manages four different stores with McDonald’s ESL graduates. “They feel more a part of our culture, our customs.”

See the program in action – and how the students feel on graduation day – in this edition of the Buckley Report.