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A two-year cooperative effort between Weber State University and Japan Airlines paid off this month when 26 Japanese women earned associate degrees in applied secretarial science.

Lonnie Campbell, international program assistant in the university's continuing education department, said the goal of the program is to provide Japanese businesses with bilingual office employees who are comfortable dealing with English-speaking foreigners.Japan Airlines recruits Japanese women for the Weber State program. The students study English as a second language and learn secretarial skills while experiencing American culture.

Despite the language barrier, the first graduates of the program maintained a combined grade-point average of 3.1, compared with an average of 2.87 scored by their U.S. classmates. Campbell predicted that some 60 Japanese students remaining in the cooperative program would achieve higher averages in the future.