A $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will launch a campaign at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to train as many classroom interpreters as possible for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind.
During the next five years, the $1,248,982 grant will support efforts to tackle the national shortage of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade classroom interpreters. The Department of Education grant is funding the project in its entirety.
UALR plans to use the money for 50 scholarships, outreach into the surrounding states, and extensive training assessments.
Led by Ray James, Senior IEP instructor, the project will provide scholarships and extensive training to dozens of new baccalaureate students. Other project collaborators include Dr. Linda Stauffer, IEP program coordinator; Dr. Glenn Anderson, IEP instructor; Ella Irby, a founding member of the Little Rock Black Deaf Advocates; and Jami Hollingsworth, IEP instructor, who will be the project coordinator and educational specialist.
“The supply of available qualified interpreters in Arkansas is insufficient to meet the needs of such a large number of deaf students on a regular day-to- day basis,” James said.
To address this deficiency, UALR’s program will take a three-pronged approach:
- Actively recruiting eligible applicants from throughout the country
- Offering substantial financial support
- Giving priority to underrepresented populations
The program will collaborate with Tulsa Community College, providing an invitation for Tulsa students who completed their associate degree in interpreter education to continue in UALR’s bachelor’s program.