NBC News: Colorado Wants More Bilingual Workers, Creates High School ‘Seal of Biliteracy’

One state is signaling the growing importance of bilingual skills by touting its young people who are fluent in more than one language.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed into law a bipartisan bill establishing a Seal of Biliteracy program, which recognizes high school graduates who are proficient in a second language. The legislation takes effect during the 2017-18 school year, and school district participation is voluntary.

Republican Sen. Kevin Priola of Henderson was one of the co-sponsors of the bipartisan bill.

“Not only does it encourage younger people to see a value in taking language classes and in being fluent in two or three languages, it is a useful tool for the business community to know a potential employee has language skills without having to give them language tests,” Priola, 43, said.

Priola, who was born in the United States and is of Italian, German, Russian and Irish ancestry, said he learned Spanish and knows some Japanese.

“Our family had a greenhouse for many years; a lot of our employees spoke Spanish and I practice it every chance I get,” Priola said. The new law, he said, has been viewed favorably both in the business community and by various school district officials, who testified in favor of the bill months ago.

Read the full story from NBC News: Colorado Wants More Bilingual Workers, Creates High School ‘Seal of Biliteracy’

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