English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS)

EHLS  new logo

The English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) program is an intensive program of study for adults who possess a high level of proficiency in a critical language and want to achieve professional proficiency in English. Conducted by CAL in partnership with the Georgetown University Center for Language Education and Development, EHLS gives participants the English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills they need to succeed in professional positions in the federal government.

The EHLS curriculum consists of four interconnected courses that enable participants to develop language proficiency and analytical and critical thinking skills through a series of tasks that are typical of the federal workplace. The capstone of the instructional program is an analytical research project on a topic provided by a federal agency; participants develop papers and presentations on their topics with guidance from federal agency mentors.

CAL directs and oversees the program, with responsibility for program design, participant recruitment and selection, language proficiency testing, scholarship management, instructional program support, program quality evaluation, and information dissemination. Program graduates since 2006 include native speakers of Amharic, Arabic, Balochi, Bambara, Chinese-Cantonese, Chinese-Mandarin, Dari, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Swahili, Somali, Turkish, Urdu, Uzbek, and Yoruba.

Visit the EHLS website.

EHLS Program Celebrates its Tenth Anniversary

The English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) program observed its tenth year of successful operation in June 2015 with two major events. On June 5, EHLS directors from CAL, Georgetown University, and the National Security Education Program (NSEP) provided the plenary presentation at the June meeting of the Interagency Language Roundtable. Then, on June 17, the program hosted a formal observation on the Georgetown campus. Speakers at this event included Mr. Daniel Feehan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, and the Honorable Tim Roemer (D-IN) and the Honorable Rush Holt, Jr. (D-NJ), both of whom were instrumental in developing the authorizing legislation for the program.

CAL is proud to be the founding provider of this ongoing program that gives native speakers of critical languages the professional English proficiency they need to secure positions with the federal government. CAL coordinates the EHLS program in collaboration with the Georgetown Center for Language Education and Development; the program is sponsored by the National Security Education Program, part of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office, U.S. Department of Defense. 


Project Background

Before initiating the actual EHLS program, CAL conducted a feasibility study to locate communities of qualified speakers of critical languages, determine their English language needs, ascertain areas of need within the federal government, and identify possible models and locations for the program. An executive summary and a full report on the feasibility study are available in pdf format and can be downloaded by clicking the links below. 

EHLS Final Report 911.10 kB