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Learning English

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Learning a foreign language isn't easy, as many Utahns who have lived abroad can attest.

It takes time, effort and a significant personal commitment to become proficient in the language skills needed to get by. So, it is not surprising that a new survey undertaken by United Way of Salt Lake reveals most immigrants and refugees who now live in Utah struggle to learn English, even though they've tried.

KSL agrees with United Way's conclusion: Utahns need to do a better job of welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees, which includes helping them overcome language barriers that limit their progress.

The fact that 40 percent of Utah's population growth in the first half of this decade was due to immigrants and refugees underscores the need to reach out. As United Way leaders suggest, these newcomers have "enabled Utah's economy to remain strong - and even expand - during a severe and protracted labor shortage."

The flood of non-English speaking people is not likely to stop in the foreseeable future. United Way recommends the creation of a council of public and private sector leaders "to develop a comprehensive framework for the integration of immigrants and refugees in Utah." A key component would be finding a way to accelerate the learning of English.

KSL strongly endorses this practical approach to resolving a critical concern.

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