WHEEL Program – English Learning Offered

Written By: Admin
Published: February 1, 2013

Since the launch of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce’s WHEEL (Worksite Held Employee English Learning) program in 2008, employees from Sonoma County businesses have been able to take advantage of English classes offered at worksites and community centers.

Originally launched as onsite classes, the WHEEL program has grown into a customizable education program that aims at engaging employees through their needs and responsibilities as parents, while also being focused on providing programs that will also have both short and long term business benefits.

The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce provides outreach and consultation to businesses across the county with a focus on family-friendly workplace policies and onsite educational opportunities.  The Chamber recognized businesses’ concerns with the high costs associated with turn-over and discovered that providing a few no or low-cost programs for the workplace can go a long way towards building relationships with employees, preventing regular turn-over or absenteeism issues.  The WHEEL program helps a business introduce and implement programs that help to build that relationship.  Regarding the county’s long term workforce needs, research has shown that the greatest ROI for the workforce is by investing in early childhood education.  Working directly with employees builds trust between employer and employee and also helps support parents that are juggling the responsibilities of work and home.

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is partnering with the Santa Rosa Chamber to provide English learning for the agricultural community.  And together with the 2016 program sponsor, Lehr Insurance Agency, will provide an opportunity for more people in our Sonoma County community to continue to thrive.

The program classes will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Classes will be located at Farm Bureau: 3589 Westwind Blvd. in Santa Rosa.

To register, please contact the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. Advanced registration is required due to limited availability.

For more information please contact the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

Phone: 707-545-1414 or Email: Leslie lesliea@santarosachamber.com.

Classes Scheduled For:

Date Time Language Member Non Member

16, 22, 23, 29

1, 7, 8, 21, 22, 28, 29


4, 5, 11, 18, 19

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.





WHEEL Facts & FAQs

Participation in the WHEEL program gives your business an opportunity to improve your bottom line, as well as giving your employees an opportunity to engage more fully in our community. The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce will customize a plan that will make the program work for your business.

Employees average a 15% gain in life skills and reading assessment during their first 8-week session of English classes.

Employees that participated in eight 8-week sessions increased their basic English skills 88.9%.

Students were asked where they have applied what they learned during English classes:

Benefits to employers include:

  • Improved employee morale
  • Less turnover
  • Higher attendance
  • Easier to institute change
  • Improved safety
  • Happier employees
How much time will this take to put together?  
Farm Bureau and Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce staff will work to coordinate the effort with you. While you communicate to your employees the “whats” and “whens,” Farm Bureau and the Chamber will coordinate everything else.Do I have to be a Farm Bureau member?  
No. Sonoma County Farm BUreau and The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce believes that workforce development is vital to our success as a community. The program is available to both Farm Bureau and non-Farm Bureaur members.

How much does it cost?  
Due to generous support from our sponsors, we are able to provide coordination of all elements of the program.

WHEEL Program Elements

WHEEL is a customizable program which can be adapted to meet your business needs. Our staff will work with you to build the most successful program possible. Whether it’s using our traditional program elements or planning something new, we look forward to working with you!

Program Elements

School Engagement
Connecting employees with representatives from their local school district. Often times a child’s school is an intimidating place. We will help plan a workshop or event with representatives from the schools that your employees’ children attend. School representatives will focus on what parents can do to ensure their child’s success in the classroom.
English Classes
A series of after-hours English classes offered at the workplace. Employees work with an English teacher for approximately four-hours per week. Classes can be tailored to include industry specific or safety language. Assessments and attendance can be coordinated through the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the Chamber hosts a graduation celebration at the completion of the class.
Financial Literacy
Featuring topics such as household budgeting, money management, establishing and building good credit and financing a car or home.
Community Service
Volunteerism is a way to feel engaged in our community. Arrangements can be made to volunteer on a special project or help your employees become involved in community-wide efforts, either for a one-day project or on an ongoing basis.

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