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Uber and Rosetta Stone have teamed up to offer drivers free language courses

Uber announced Thursday that it is partnering with language tutor Rosetta Stone to provide free language classes for its drivers and couriers. As part of the agreement, drivers and delivery workers are being covered in select markets where Uber operates.

Rosata’s digital language learning programs, which cover 24 languages, will be fully integrated into Uber’s app. The company and Rosetta are working together to help ride-share drivers and delivery workers develop their language skills.

Prior to this, drivers could enroll in English-language courses through Uber Pro, the company’s driver rewards program. Aside from offering incentives to Uber drivers to sign up, the company is also working to improve relations with its drivers amid a nationwide driver shortage.

A majority of drivers for Uber are immigrants in many cities. 82 percent of London’s drivers are immigrants, while 90 percent of New York City’s drivers are immigrants.

According to Uber, its employees will be able to learn a new language on the job, which could lead to more full-time employment.

To help Uber drivers find a new job, the company is offering letters that list the efforts they made while they were working for it. The letter will include information like their first signup date, the number of trips they have made or deliveries they have made, their average customer rating and top feedback.

The company, however, would prefer that people stay logged into its app, and it offers cash payments as an added bonus. To entice COVID-wary workers back to its platform, the company announced it would invest $250 million in a “stimulus” package for drivers.

As part of this strategy, Uber’s head of driver operations told The Wall Street Journal that the company would fund programs that would assist drivers in building their careers.

As independent contractors, Uber drivers do not receive many of the advantages and protections associated with salaried employment. While Uber argues this gives drivers a flexible schedule and allows them to set their own schedule, some drivers disagree, claiming they are at the mercy of Uber’s algorithms. 

Many US drivers have been unable to reclassify as employees, but a few are still trying for better protections.

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