The Walmart Foundation has provided a $1.8 million grant to expand a pilot program aimed at helping retail workers with limited English language skills succeed in their jobs.

The Skills and Opportunity for the New American Workforce program launched in 2016 through the National Immigration Forum in partnership with Miami Dade College and the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education, and has reached more than 500 employees of Kroger, Publix and Whole Foods in Houston, New York and Miami, respectively.

The program’s first-year results showed 17% of participants received promotions after 12 weeks of English language training. In addition, every participant improved English proficiency ability by at least one level, and more than 80% of the participant’s managers said that store productivity increased because of the training.

The retail sector has one of the highest levels of limited-English-proficient workers, at nearly 1.5 million, approximately half of whom are women, the Immigration

Forum said. It described the retail-contextual language-training program to be the first of its kind.

The latest funding will be used to refine and scale the curriculum based on an analysis of the first-year program, build a smartphone…