Language is powerful. It empowers people to connect profoundly with one another and deepens understanding between people from different cultures, countries, and contexts.
While the world is becoming increasingly multilingual, the United States is not keeping pace—and ACTFL is looking to close this gap. Since 1967, ACTFL has championed quality teaching and learning of world languages, and our work is increasingly vital today. According to ACTFL’s 2019 study Making Languages Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among U.S. Employers, in order to stay competitive, the U.S. needs more workers who can speak another language—yet companies struggle to find qualified candidates. And as the U.S. becomes more linguistically and culturally diverse, these skills—which our members and the language education community at-large deliver—are increasingly critical.
Without a more diverse, well-prepared, and highly skilled language educator workforce to impart these skills, the goal of accessible, high-quality language education in every community across the country cannot be realized, and the U.S. will continue to lose ground.
This is why ACTFL created the Language Connects Foundation (LCF), a stand-alone entity created to raise the funds necessary to advance and deepen the breadth and scope of ACTFL’s impactful work. Its mission is to elevate the language education profession and promote the transformative power of language learning. By supporting four primary focus areas—professional development, scholarships and awards, research, and public education—LCF addresses the most critical challenges currently facing the profession.
A key resource provided by the Language Connects Foundation website is its News & Events section, which features Student Voices interviews and Professional Profiles highlighting the amazing ways people across sectors are using their language skills in their careers. The section also provides information about the latest LCF contests and initiatives.
Do you know a former student, a friend, or another individual who regularly employs their language and cultural skills in their work? Help us celebrate the value of language learning and refer them to be spotlighted on the LCF website.
As I mentioned on the It’s About Language podcast, we at LCF are grateful for Vista Higher Learning’s support as we offer new classroom micro-grants for language teachers beginning this fall. We’ll have more details on this exciting program in the coming months. We’re also appreciative of and humbled by the support of many organizations and individuals since LCF’s launch in November.
Corporations that support LCF make a direct and meaningful impact on our ability to advance the language profession and deliver programs and services of critical need to current and future language educators. LCF works closely with partners to deepen their language capacity and competencies, market their brand, and raise their visibility through an exciting array of benefits and recognition opportunities.
If you represent a corporation or have relationships with corporate entities that believe strongly in our mission, we ask that you join us. Learn more at languageconnectsfoundation.org/get-involved/ways-to-give.
I continue to be in awe of the amazing things that language educators do in the service of their learners every day. It’s my hope that the Language Connects Foundation can play a role in ensuring that your impactful work continues for generations to come.
By Howie Berman
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