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Rochester Metro, Brookings Institution

Rochester Metro, Brookings Institution


Rochester does not have a huge number of workers with limited English skills. Brookings Institution compiled statistics for 89 metro areas. Rochester ranks 76th in the percentage of limited English proficient (LEP) workers – 3.6 percent. That’s still more than 26,000 people working in our area who do not speak English well. This group has also grown 20 percent since 2000.

This group is diverse. In the Rochester area, they tend to be more highly-educated than the U.S. as a whole. More than half had completed high school and more than 15 percent had college degrees.

In Rochester, Spanish is the most common language of LEP workers at 37 percent, followed by Asian languages at 33 percent and Indo-European languages at 24 percent.

Nearly one-fourth of LEP workers in Rochester have manufacturing jobs. Food services, health and social services and retail are the next largest categories of jobs for LEP workers. Their median earnings are $28,000.

Sixty-three percent of working-age LEP adults in Rochester are in the labor force, less than the national rate of 71 percent.

Why do we care? Brookings reports:

English proficiency is an essential gateway to economic opportunity for immigrant workers in the United States. Yet access to acquiring these skills is persistently limited by a lack of resources and attention. Increasing investment in adult English instruction—through more funding, targeted outreach, and instructional innovations—would enhance the human capital of immigrants that could lead to more productive work and better outcomes for their children. Given the large number of LEP workers in the United States and the fact that virtually all of the growth in the U.S. labor force over the next four decades is projected to come from immigrants and their children, it is in our collective interest to tackle this challenge head on.


Links of the Day:


– The state is investing an astonishing $750 million dollars into SolarCity in Buffalo, in a bid to attract 3,000 jobs. 

– This makes total sense. If SolarCity flops, it only has to pay back $41 million to the state.

– “Cuomo didn’t so much attract SolarCity to Buffalo as he did raid the public treasury to make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

– Morelle on state’s huge Buffalo investment IN ONE COMPANY: “I see it as complementary” to Rochester.

– About Rochester’s low unemployment rate: The labor force shrank. 

Walmart will offer checking accounts. 

– The U.S. is deporting children of parents who are here legally.

– Maybe Gabby Giffords is so hot on gun controlbecause she was shot in the head.

RIP, Joe Floreano.


Help Fight Poverty:


3 Responses to Limited English Workers

  1. September 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    People should not be able to become U.S. citizens unless they are fluent in English and should not be able to have jobs in this country unless they are citizens. Puerto Rico should also become independent, as people there are ofter not fluent in English and are already U.S. and come to the mainland not fluent in English. We should also reopen Ellis Island, Castle Garden, Angel Island and other former places for immigrant process to make them adopt our language and customs and western-sounding names, when necessary, or face deportation, just like back then, and some of my ancestors came through Ellis and Castle and did it the right way.

  2. Further more … there should be no spanish TV no dual signs or announcements. I you come here and live here you should speak OUR language.

    Teddy Roosevelt’s on immigrants and being an AMERICAN 1907.
    “We should insist that the immigrant comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language the English language.”

  3. September 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm lellingw responds:

    Many of the limited English proficient adults have been here for years and developed listening/speaking ability to be easily understood for everyday situations and for their jobs but haven’t had the chance to learn to read and write in English. When one comes here as an adult, even for refugees, the demand is for them to work, not learn English and this causes many difficulties for LEP students to better their situations. Some employers do provide time for English language classes. Might be nice to cover those classes.

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