Virginia Cooperative Extension has initiated a free language interpretation service in order to better serve Virginia’s increasingly diverse population. The service provides telephone-based interpretation by a human operator in 200 different languages.
The new translation service is aligned with Extension’s mandate to serve underrepresented populations and meet civil rights compliance laws.
Nearly 500,000 Virginians have limited English proficiency.
“If you have limited English skills, there is no reason to let that stop you from visiting an Extension office,” said Joe Hunnings, director of planning and reporting, professional development and civil rights compliance. “Virginia Cooperative Extension can serve you by connecting you to one of our Extension agents through a telephone-based interpreter. This service is free to our clients.”
Arlington County may just be one locality in the heavily populated area of Northern Virginia, but this relatively small spot of land that borders the District of Columbia is home to a population that hails from all regions of the globe including Asia, Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East.
In addition, many residents of Arlington County are classified as having low English proficiency, so unifying this diverse population through Extension programming can be challenging.
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BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 16, 2014 – Nine Virginia Cooperative Extension employees recently came to Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus where they participated in a week-long inclusion and diversity program.
All 9 are now qualified to take what they have learned back to their respective communities to teach others how to create and maintain environments in which all community members feel valued and respected.
- Jennifer Bowen, Prince Edward County
- Tara Brent, Northumberland County
- Katherine Carter, Botetourt County
- Corey Childs, Warren County
- Sam Nagurny, Fairfax County
- Daniel Nortman, York County
- Molly Parker, Bath County
- Drexel Pierce, Greensville County
- Christina Ruszczyk-Murray, Northampton County
During the week-long program, participants attended several Diversity Development Institute workshops, including Fundamentals of Diversity, Fostering Inclusive Environments, and Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World. At the end of the week, they received their Diversity Ally Certificate.
The Diversity Ally Certificate is one of the many certificate programs offered through University Organizational and Professional Development in Virginia Tech’s Department of Human Resources. A total of 73 faculty and staff members have earned the certificate, which is open to all Virginia Tech employees who want to develop their skills in diversity and inclusion content and practice.
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