Last week, the proposed Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act  (SUCCESS) was introduced in both the House and Senate during the week of July 20 that supporters say would help immigrants integrate into U.S. society and workplaces and includes tax breaks for businesses offering English literacy programs to their employees.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA.) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and has several co-sponsors in both houses.  Click here to read Rep. Honda’s press release on SUCCESS.  

Key features of the SUCCESS Act include:

  • Businesses that provide English language courses to their employees could receive a 20 percent tax credit for those expenses, up to $1,000 per employee.
  • Teachers who teach immigrants English language skills would receive tax breaks up to $750 per year for the first five years of teaching and $500 for each year after that, up to a maximum of 10 years.
  • The bill would double the amount of funding for English language programs the Department of Education provides for states from about $70 million to $200 million in fiscal year 2010, with the majority of the funding going to states with the largest and fastest-growing immigrant populations.

If it becomes law, SUCCESS will encourage businesses to invest in educating their non-English speaking workforce, a laudable goal.  What we don’t understand, however, is the acronym.  SUCCESS?  Really?  Shouldn’t it be SUCCEES?  While technically correct, it wouldn’t spell a catchy word and would doom the bill to a slow death in committee.