Flight attendant assisting a passanger In our increasingly globalized world, there is a growing need for a multilingual workforce. The demand for multilingual employees more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.[1] The workforce has continued to evolve since then, particularly as a consequence of the Covid pandemic: as of 2021, there has been a 30% increase in bilingual remote jobs.[2] Multilingual employees bring undeniable value to the workplace, helping to build a culturally diverse workforce, which in turns allows for fresh ideas and perspectives in creating new business solutions. They also help with the expansion into global markets and the building of employee/customer trust.

How do businesses keep pace with a changing society and marketplace that continues to demand multilingual skillsets? The answer is in understanding that personal employee success and business success are not mutually exclusive. One way to ensure employee and business achievement is through a commitment to prioritizing career advancement that includes multilingualism.

JetBlue, as a prime example, offers employees the opportunity to fast track their degree programs. In 2016, they launched their Global Scholars Program to advance the educational and professional opportunities of their employees. Within this program, employees, in all positions, can earn a fully accredited associate or bachelor’s degree. Employees can apply past courses, required licenses and certifications, and even on-the-job experience, including JetBlue training toward their academic degrees and earn college credit.

Multilingual employees can also earn college credits by demonstrating proficiency in other known languages. For that, JetBlue has partnered with Language Testing International (LTI) to provide multilingual employees with the opportunity to take language tests. LTI administers ACTFL assessments – the gold standard in language proficiency testing and certification. ACTFL assessments, which are recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE), offer the opportunity for multilingual speakers, readers, and writers to earn college credits and/or linguistic certifications. “Someone who is a native speaker, or who is at the expert-level in a language, can get 9 to 12 credits for a couple of the ACTFL assessments. That is a huge benefit to our crewmembers in the program,” says Nicole Lembo, the Manager of Talent Management/Academic Programs at JetBlue.

The success of the Global Scholars Program is evident for both the employees and for JetBlue. With the help of LTI and ACTFL, crewmembers at JetBlue not only have the opportunity to complete an academic degree without having to return to school, but many ascend to new roles within the company. Employees who complete the program also “tend to be more engaged with the company, tend to be more loyal to JetBlue, and they stay longer,” says Lembo. Attracting and retaining talent in today’s economy is key to success. Lembo says, “When our crewmembers who already speak another language are able to become certified by ACTFL, it is not only valuable on a resume but even more exciting for us. Our employees have the opportunity to earn credits towards a bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, we are able to provide education to incoming talent, a huge part of the value proposition when it comes to recruitment. If you are going to be the employer of choice in today’s labor market where everybody is fighting for talent as we’re coming out of Covid, you have to offer more than a paycheck.” Recognizing and investing in employees’ multilingual skills can certainly contribute to a company’s competitiveness and ultimate transition to the global stage.

Administering ACTFL assessments and partnering with LTI can ultimately serve as the catalyst to help you elevate your employees’ academic and professional experiences and expand your business. To get your employees certified visit ​​www.languagetesting.com.

To learn more about JetBlue’s experience partnering with LTI listen to our podcast in which Nicole Lembo discusses how JetBlue is leveraging LTI’s Language Proficiency Testing to help the company’s employees further their academic and career advancement.


[1]https://www.newamericaneconomy.org/press-release/demand-for-bilingual-workers-more-than-doubled-in-5-years-new-report-shows/ and http://www.newamericaneconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NAE_Bilingual_V9.pdf


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