In difficult economic times, the place of education in the economy comes to the forefront with questions about how effective our programs are in preparing students to become contributing members of the workforce and society. As the discipline of English studies sits at the cross-roads of humanities and education for a global society, it has traditionally enjoyed high enrollments and unquestioned value. However, two trends are affecting the position of English studies in the academy: 1) the emergence of communication studies as a discipline and 2) the movement towards education in English as a global language across many disciplines in Scandinavia. Because of these movements, the place and purpose for English studies is being called into question. In addition, the ability of an English studies degree in preparing students for the global workforce is also being examined. To address these emergent trends in academia, this issue brings together papers from the U.S., Denmark, Finland and Spain to examine the intersection of English education practices and workplace needs. This issue began as a panel at the ESSE 2008 conference in Aarhus, and has, through our dialogue with each and responses to peer reviewers, grown into a collection of articles which offer key points for consideration in reflecting on the intersection of English education practices and workplace needs.