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Job Ready with PC Conversation Circles

Student Quote - "I like Workplace English because now I understand how to apply for jobs and I know vocabulary for jobs. Workplace English Wed 1pm - 3pm, Learning Commons Lower Library ESL Conversation Circles held Tues and Thur 1pm - 2:30pm B building, room B123 Online ESL Conversation Circles Mon and Wed 1pm - 2:30pm

Several job sectors in Phoenix are experiencing an employee shortage. On the surface, it appears easy to find a job. While that may be true for some, the refugee and immigrant populations in the Valley are still grappling with the same concerns that have hampered each new generation of Americans seeking employment – speaking English.

Phoenix College’s robust English as a Second Language (ESL) Program is taking this issue head on with a new Conversation Circles series - Workplace English. In Workplace English, students have an opportunity to practice the English needed on the job or for the career search. The Conversation Circle focuses on job application assistance, interviewing skills, and casual workplace conversation/vocabulary.  Participants may begin the program at any time, taking however many sessions they wish. Conversation circles are free and open to all students and community members.

During the conversation circle, Phoenix College (PC) students and community members alike, practice speaking the common vocabulary found in the workplace – from water cooler small talk, how best to inquire about a new position or job posting, to interviewing tips and techniques. Participants also gain experience in the common terminology found in job postings and gain practice in filling out sample job applications. Members of the circle also role play with sample written interview questions. In the Fall, the Workplace English Conversation Circles will also include mock interviews to better prepare participants for the real-life process of finding a job.

Patti Blanco, PC Instructional Services Specialist, manages the Conversation Circles, including Workplace English. “We began this program to help refugees/asylum seekers prepare for getting jobs in Phoenix. I built the curriculum and offer it to any students or community members in need of support. During the sessions the group gets so comfortable with each other and bonds because they are all struggling with the same thing – it’s really nice to be a part of that process.” – Patti Blanco.

"I like Workplace English because now I understand how to apply for jobs and I know vocabulary for jobs. I feel more comfortable with myself." - Wilmer G. (Workplace Conversation Circles participant)

Community members who attend the Conversation Circles offered at Phoenix College are exposed to the college atmosphere in a positive setting. This encourages some to continue with their education. “I had a community member who learned about Conversation Circles through the Phoenix Public Library this summer and he is now registered in ESL classes for this fall. He told me he wouldn’t have ever thought to do that if it wasn’t for Conversation Circles.” – Patti Blanco

Workplace English Conversation Circles were held this summer on Wednesdays from 1 – 3 pm in the Learning Commons of the Fannin Library (lower level). Once the fall semester begins, new Workplace English Conversation Circles will be scheduled. If interested, contact Patti Blanco at 602-285-7359 or

Learn more about English as a Second Language Programs at Phoenix College and all Conversation Circles offered.

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