For individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind, access to vocational rehabilitation services, mental and physical health care, social services, education, telecommunications, the justice system, and civic life depends upon the availability of qualified interpreters. The Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has supported the growth of the interpreting workforce for more than twenty-five years through the Training of Interpreters for Individuals who are Deaf and Individuals who are Deaf-Blind Program. The primary purpose of the grant program is to develop and implement effective education and professional development activities to enhance the quality and availability of interpreting services with particular emphasis on the communication needs of consumers of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services.
The new RSA National Priorities of 2005 established a National and Regional Interpreter Education Center collaboration to ensure the effectiveness of interpreter education opportunities offered by the Regional Interpreter Education Centers and to provide educational opportunities for interpreter educators through the National Interpreter Education Center. Collaboration among the centers leverages knowledge, leadership, and fiscal resources, while promoting consistency in the quality of training and measures of program outcomes and impact. The involvement of consumers and vocational rehabilitation service providers in the development and implementation of all educational initiatives ensures that programming is grounded in the realities of everyday life.
During the 2005-2010 cycle, the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers was established and led by the six directors of the National and Regional centers through a collaborative model of leadership. We acknowledge the dedication and contributions of two former directors, Dr. Betsy Winston and Dr. Linda Stauffer. Their efforts and those of their center staff were key to the successes of the Consortium. Northeastern University’s National Interpreter Education Center (“NIEC”) and the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (“NCIEC”) were established under the direction of Dr. Betsy Winston. The NIEC and NCIEC built upon the work of Project TIEM. We appreciate these valuable contributions and recognize Dr. Winston’s leadership, which was integral to the NIEC and NCIEC.
Among the products and resources that the Consortium developed are a series of needs assessments, a training curriculum and materials to educate deaf consumers in advocating for appropriate interpreting services, a healthcare interpreting website, Deaf Interpreter domains and competencies, a mentoring resource site, best practices for legal interpreting, a snapshot of the field as it responds to RID degree requirements, and curricular guidelines and resources on Deaf-Blind interpreting created through a collaboration called the National Task Force on Deaf-Blind Interpreting.
The National Center’s work with the Regional Centers for 2010-2015 builds upon the outstanding effective practice foundations established during the last grant cycle.