Judson “Jay” Allgood, president and owner of International Language Plus (ILP),  bought the company during the shutdown a year ago, in April 2020. Founded in 1986, ILP teaches English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as eight foreign languages — Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Korean and Italian — to thousands of students in the Cincinnati area. Allgood began teaching ESL for ILP in 1992, after returning from six years in Japan where he had also taught ESL.

In addition to becoming a business owner last April, Allgood faced the challenges of adapting that business to the pandemic shutdown: “we had to go from almost 100% face-to-face lessons to 100% remote. Since our face-to-face lessons are normally two hours long and our remote lessons are only 1-1.5 hours, we saw a big decline in both hours taught and income,” Allgood reported. 

Allgood was able to turn those negatives into positive impacts for ILP, however: “We have become much more skilled at teaching remotely, which has allowed us to teach students even after they have left the US. In addition, a lot of Americans decided to study foreign languages, especially Japanese.” He is proud that ILP was able not only to retain all their teachers during the pandemic, but has also added three new foreign language teachers in the last nine months.

ILP currently has both remote and in-person classes; the latter can be at their school, at the student’s company, or in the student’s home. Most of their lessons are one-on-one, which allows them to customize them to fit the needs and goals of their students; group lessons are also available if companies request them. ILP also offers translations, interpreting, and cross-cultural training upon request, and is an official TOEIC testing site.

Allgood views his work as an “opportunity to return some of the hospitality and kindness that I experienced during my six years living and working in Japan.” He added that his experiences living abroad help him understand what ILP’s students are facing; he loves the “‘a-ha’ moment” on his students’ faces and the thanks he and ILP receive from their

students.

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