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Online English-Language School Aims to Educate U.S. Hispanics

First Posted: Apr 19, 2015 06:30 AM EDT
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Open English

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Open English has spent the past eight years teaching students in Latin America. Now, the online English-language school based in Miami has its eye on educating Hispanics in the U.S, the Miami Herald reports.

Starting this week, Open English has entered the United States to bring its affordable teacher-led instructional model to the country's fastest growing population, Hispanics. Open English will begin offering its program in Miami immediately, followed by more cities. The program will use a national advertising and marketing campaign to promote the brand.

"We have had this organic growth already happening here so it was very easy for us to say this is the next big market for Open English. We also realized that the core need to learn English and be successful as a result -- and English is a tool for success -- is very similar if you live in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina or if you live in a city like Miami or LA," said Andres Moreno, founder and executive chairman of Open English. "This is a moment we have been waiting for for a long time."

Moreno says that the number of working adults 1 in 10, or 19.2 million aged 16-64 is considered to have limited English proficiency, according to Brookings Institution. Most of this group speaks Spanish. Also, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, 68 percent of Hispanic immigrant adults say they do not speak English very well or do not speak English at all.

Open English helps teach English by offering unlimited live classes with native English speakers and offers over 2,000 hours of multimedia content. Open English is now available in 20 countries and has been able to raise $120 million in venture capital financing to help its growth.

Open English commercials have been witty and gone viral in Latin America. In the U.S., the commercials will take a new approach to explain the program and how it can help students, Moreno said. More billboards, bus bench ads, online and radio advertisements will be seen. U.S. students will also be able to receive one free month of lessons.

Moreno came from Venezuela. His idea for Open English was brought to the U.S. when he moved from Venezuela to Silicon Valley. He began knocking on doors of venture capitalists trying to get startup money.

He then moved the company to Miami where he raised $100 million of the $120 million. Moreno's company now employs about 1,500 people. 

To learn more about Open English, visit their official website.

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