meet: workplace ESL solutions:

Opening up a world of confidence to workers

Ronna Timpa of Workplace ESL Solutions teaches a class to English language learners at Circus Circus on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.

Name of business: Workplace ESL Solutions

Address: 2654 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, #B5-246, Henderson, NV 89052

Phone: 873-3520


Hours and days of operation: Based on clients’ needs.

Owned by: Ronna Timpa

In business since: 1994

Describe your business.

Workplace ESL Solutions improves the lives of thousands of people by offering effective language training.

When non-English speaking workers gain the confidence and ability to communicate in English, their whole world opens up. They can better communicate with customers and co-workers.

Workplace ESL Solutions focuses on presenting, practicing and using language for realistic communication tasks that meet the immediate everyday needs of the learner. The results are more employee confidence, a greater level of competency throughout the workplace, employees with great control over their day-to-day work situations, and employees with an increased level of commitment to their organizations.

We offer ESL (English as a Second Language), Spanish, Cantonese, business writing, train-the-trainer courses and translations and interpretations.

Workplace ESL Solutions operates in three states and sells its textbooks — “Hotel English,” “Workplace English” and “Workplace Spanish” — to bookstores, colleges, individuals and adult schools around the country and internationally. Our latest venture is “Online Hotel ESL Program,” developed in partnership with Vegas PBS.

Who are your customers?

Eighty percent of our customers are from the hospitality and gaming industry sector. Twenty percent are from the manufacturing, health care and construction industries.

What makes your business unique?

We customize language training to the unique needs of the company and the participants. The learner walks out of the classroom being able to say what he or she needs to be able to say in order to be more successful at their jobs.

For ESL, learners learn workplace language, confidence, speaking skills, etiquette, pronunciation and American culture. This also applies to participants learning workplace Spanish or Cantonese. The tailored instruction assures results that provide our clients a measurable return on investment.

What is your business philosophy?

We motivate our learners to be excited about learning. Learning is more effective when you are enjoying the process. We show them how being enthusiastic in the workplace will lead to success both at work and at home. We want them to know that learning English will help them better achieve their professional goals.

What’s the most important part of your job?

The most important part of my job is to impart enthusiasm and confidence onto our learners.

The second most important part is highlighting the skill set of entry-level workers. You will find doctors from Bulgaria, accountants from Bosnia, attorneys from Mexico and others working in the public areas and housekeeping. These hard working immigrants bring an amazing skill set that allows them to contribute greatly to the success of their employers.

What is the hardest part about doing business in Las Vegas?

Lately, the hardest part has been reduced budgets that do not allow companies to give their employees training to help them better serve their customers. These employees are the “sales force” of the organization.

What is the best part about doing business in Las Vegas?

The best part is the diversity in the workforce. In one ESL class, you might have 12 different countries represented by 25 participants.

Right now, I have a class at the Venetian with the following countries represented: Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, El Salvador, Thailand, Serbia, Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua. How amazing for them to be learning together and with each other!

What obstacles has your business overcome?

We overcame the obstacle of lower training budgets by adding two new broader profit centers. We started business writing workshops and tutoring, which have been very successful.

In addition, we partnered with Vegas PBS to develop an online hotel ESL program. We wanted to reach more non-English speaking workers in hotels where there were limited training budgets or not enough employees to form a class.

In addition, with the economy, many entry-level workers are working two jobs, so the ability to take an online class on their own time has been exciting.

How can Nevada improve its business climate?

By continuing to recognize and honor the diversity among employees in organizations. Embracing the differences and building on what we have in common helps us grow with each other and foster success in the workplace.

What have you learned from the recession?

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we offer services and products that help a company with its strategic and succession planning goals. Our training has to not only add value, but its results also have to be measurable.

It’s not enough that employees enjoy our classes. The success and value of the training has to demonstrate a return on investment.