Boston, MA – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the LOOK Bill (House Bill 4032), which, in addition to greatly expanding options for English learners in Massachusetts, establishes a statewide Seal of Biliteracy program to recognize high school graduates who have attained proficiency in at least one language in addition to English. The bill passed unanimously in the Massachusetts Senate and nearly unanimously in the Massachusetts House (151-1) after a reconciliation process earlier this month.
The Seal of Biliteracy has been hailed as an important initiative to promote foreign language learning and greater cultural understanding for students. New American Economy joined several other business organizations and education groups across the state, including the three members of the Massachusetts Language Opportunity Coalition, to advocate for the passage of the LOOK Bill and accompanying Seal of Biliteracy. Massachusetts is the 26th state to adopt a seal.
The bill’s passage was supported by a testimonial from NAE highlighting research that shows growing demand for bilingual talent in some of the state’s key industries. Analyzing online job posting data acquired by Burning Glass Technologies, the NAE research brief illuminates the need to attract and promote language diversity in Massachusetts’ workforce among both foreign-born and U.S.-born workers to stay competitive in the global market.
- Between 2010 and 2015, demand for bilingual workers in Massachusetts more than doubled, increasing from 5,612 in 2010 to 14,561 in 2015. Demand also increased for candidates who speak specific languages, including Chinese (196.9 percent increase), Spanish (126.8 percent increase), and German (69.1 percent increase).
- In 2015, jobs for bilingual workers represented a significant share of online job postings at a number of Massachusetts employers, including more than two thirds of the job openings posted online by Radio Shack (71.2 percent) and CSG Incorporated (70.9 percent); more than one in four jobs posted online by Community Healthlink (37.6 percent), Bank of America (35.0 percent), and H&R Block (25.4 percent); and a portion of online postings at Boston Medical Center (9.3 percent) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (3.9 percent).
- Between 2010 and 2015, the share of postings for bilingual candidates increased in many of Massachusetts’ key industries, including: Elementary and Secondary Schools; General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services; Business Support Services; Individual and Family Services; Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services; Electronics and Appliance Stores; and Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools. In several of these cases, the share of online job postings doubled, or even quadrupled, between 2010 and 2015.
Read the full report here.