Education is a key to break down communication barriers in West Valley City. The city has a population as diverse as it gets in Utah. Nearly half of its citizens are ethnic minorities. And almost a third speak a language other than English in the home. So West Valley City leaders are encouraging residents to learn to speak English with its English Language Initiative Program.

The city guides its citizens to a variety of ESL classes available in the Salt Lake Valley taught by instructors who speak a wide array of languages. In fact,

translation is available for 68 languages through Google. Many of the English as a Second Language classes charge a very minimal fee for those people willing to learn.

When students complete the class, they will receive special recognition from city leaders. Twice a year, in April and October during a city council meeting, West Valley City leaders hand out certificates to students who complete the class.

Mayor Mike Winder summarizes the goal behind the program. He says, “It’s English that is the common language that binds us. It’s not fair for an immigrant from Ecuador to have to learn Vietnamese and English to succeed in this society. And it’s not fair for an immigrant from Tonga to have to learn Spanish and English. English is the language that we do business in, so we want to really encourage that.” Councilman Steve Buhler says, “When we know each other we get along better with each other and can enjoy the diversity that we share here in West Valley City.”

To learn more about the program, including where and when classes are taught, log onto

West Valley commends citizens who learn english

ULCT is a non partisan, inter-local, government cooperative, working to strengthen the quality of municipal government and administration. The League serves as a voice for Utah's 245 cities and towns at the county, state and federal level.