English for Specific Purposes & Workplace English

Established as a research and service center of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the International Center for Intercultural Communication (ICIC) specializes in designing site- and situation-specific education in English language and intercultural competence for businesses and organizations in central Indiana.

ICIC’s process begins with a thorough needs analysis, including questionnaires, interviews, observations, and placement exams.

Our workforce language training courses are designed using information from the needs analysis, the site, and current research on best practices in English for Specific Purposes (ESP). These courses can be offered on a short-term or long-term basis.

The ICIC language-education model has three major components:

  • interactive task-based learning
  • use of authentic teaching materials based on learners’ specific work situations
  • ongoing assessment of needs/goals as well as learner progress

These components enable us to provide quality instruction that continuously adapts to the needs of both learners and their employers. ICIC instruction develops both oral and written communication skills, intercultural competence, and accent reduction (at client request).

All ICIC instructors have completed certification and/or graduate education in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), Intercultural Communication, or both. Curriculum planning and materials design/selection/adaptation are conducted by ICIC faculty, in cooperation with course instructors.
  • ICIC is a partner organization in the Indiana Workplace English Collaborative (IWEC). IWEC is a group of ESOL educators working together with central Indiana’s business and community leaders to create an easily accessible network of workplace English training resources in the region.
  • In 2021, ICIC was recognized by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett as a Global Educator for its longstanding commitment to the local immigrant community as evidenced by providing highest quality, onsite, on-shift, workplace English classes.
What does an ICIC program look like “on the ground”? How can ICIC help your employees? Below are some examples.

On-site English classes

Since 2015, ICIC has been working with an Indianapolis-area engineering operation to provide onsite classes in English language and culture for a number of their Japanese associates. The courses provide employees with language and cultural skills embedded within the context of their work, for example, intercultural communication, answering work-related questions, giving oral and written project reports, offering feedback to coworkers, and evaluating products. The program is designed in terms of five themed modules, for a total of 180 hours per class (one class for beginners, and one for intermediate/advanced), over the course of 10 months. Reports from the associates indicate increased comfort in U.S. social and business settings, and increased understanding of the company’s U.S. customers.

Oral Communication

In another short-term workplace English course, ICIC partnered with an Indianapolis-area medical supply manufacturing company to offer 15 weeks of oral communication training to 10 factory workers who were preparing to participate in a company audit. Courses were offered twice a week, and class time overlapped with the last portion of the workers’ shifts. This course focused on language specific to describing employees’ work processes, company safety procedures, and quality control. Mock audits were conducted as part of the course assessment, with active involvement from supervisors and managers. And we’re happy to report that the employees passed their official audit!
  • IU Health (University, Methodist, Riley, North, and Integrated Distribution Center), Indianapolis, IN
  • Schafer Powder Coating, Whitestown, IN
  • Marquis Commercial Solutions, Carmel, IN
  • INTAT Precision, Inc., Rushville, IN
  • Mölnlycke Health Care, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • SMC Corporation, Noblesville, IN
  • International Dental Residency Program, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN
  • IPL, Indianapolis, IN
  • Dow Agro, Indianapolis, IN
  • United Hospital Services, Indianapolis, IN
  • G & K Services, Indianapolis, IN
  • Time Warner Trade Publishing, Lebanon, IN
  • General Electric Supply Company, Indianapolis, IN
  • Cambridge Industries, Shelbyville, IN

Get Started

For more information, request a consultation, or get started with a class, please contact ICIC at icic@iupui.edu or call (317) 274-2555.