Deborah Schwarz was greeted with applause from Vermont government and economic leaders as she announced she'll create dozens, and eventually more than 100 jobs in Middlebury. "We're delighted to make our home in Middlebury," said Schwarz, the founder of English language training company eCorp English.
eCorp English designs online lesson plans to teach foreign executives how to do their jobs in English, so they can succeed in business travel and presentations. UPS, Toyota, and Google are clients.
"We start with three different things: we start with the level they have at the beginning, the level of English they need to do their job, and the professional skills we need to teach them in English," Schwarz said of her company's proprietary methods.
The 7-year-old company will move from Europe to Middlebury, where it will house internet development jobs, language training positions and more. "I think this is an excellent company to have in our area," said Jim Ralph of Middlebury College.
ECorp English picked Addison County in large part because of Middlebury College and its international reputation for foreign language education. Vermont has long struggled with keeping young workers here. The school says more good-paying jobs in technology and in this case, linguistics, will help reverse the state's problem of brain drain.
"You can stay here, you can have a good livelihood, you can raise your family here. It's not [just] someplace you can back to when you retire," Ralph said.
Middlebury has seen major job losses in recent years with the closures of Monahan Filaments and the Standard Register Company. Town leaders welcome the next generation of job growth at eCorp English. "I recognize from Middlebury's standpoint, that we are damn lucky. We are damn lucky that this worked out well for Middlebury," said John Tenny, the chair of the Middlebury select board.
ECorp English got several hundred thousand dollars in state economic development loans and other investments. "This is how we're going to get it done and make Vermont a strong state again," said Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
ECorp English is leasing industrial space not far from the main drag in Middlebury. It's posted seven jobs so far, but 30 more should follow next year, and nearly 100 more over the next 3 years. It calls the English as a second language market a very large and fast-growing sector that now will make Vermont a key player in global businesses.
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