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Washington Post: Region’s demand for bilingual workers is booming. Should D.C. schools offer more dual-language programs?

Advocates for bilingual education and District leaders argued Thursday that the Washington region’s workforce has a growing demand for bilingual speakers that could be filled by D.C. public school graduates if the school system boosted its dual-language education programs.

The panel discussion featured D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, school leaders from Delaware and New York, an economics researcher and the Swiss ambassador to the United States, who highlighted the advantages of bilingualism in Switzerland.

Hsi-Ling Liao presented her research from the New American Economy showing a 148 percent jump in bilingual job postings in the Washington region since 2010 and a 131 percent bump in job postings calling for at least some second-language skills. The majority of these jobs are for Spanish speakers, though a significant number of employers are seeking French, Arabic and Chinese speakers.

In 2016, the top employer seeking bilingual speakers in the region was MGM National Harbor, which posted 465 jobs for bilingual speakers, according to the New American Economy study. Bank of America and Wells Fargo also sought employees who could speak more than one language, posting 415 and 393 bilingual jobs, respectively, in 2016.

Read the full story from The Washington Post: Region’s demand for bilingual workers is booming. Should D.C. schools offer more dual-language programs?

Read the related report: Not Lost in Translation: The Growing Importance of Foreign Language Skills in the U.S. Job Market

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