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Continuing Education gets grant

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 11 - November 3, 1994

Virginia Tech's Continuing Education Programs has received grant funds from the Virginia Department of Education to establish a Southwest Virginia Interpreter Training Program.

"The Commonwealth of Virginia mandates that all sign-language interpreters working full time in public schools as interpreters for deaf children hold a minimum of a Level II Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS), a proficiency test regulated by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing," said Connie Meck, program development specialist in the Roanoke Outreach Office of Continuing Education, who wrote the proposal for the grant in cooperation with Roanoke City Schools.

Meck, who is an interpreter and American Sign Language instructor herself, said the programs and activities outlined in the grant address a critical need in Southwest Virginia for more educational interpreters functioning at a Level II VQAS or above. "The only way to meet this growing need is to provide continuous training opportunities targeted to specific areas of need. The grant is a cooperative, innovative effort that, it is hoped, will meet the challenge of assisting educational interpreters in acquiring and maintaining an acceptable VQAS level," she said.

She said the grant will also be a catalyst for distributing information to young adults about the choice of educational interpreting as a career. "We plan to design an informational brochure about the field of educational interpreting that will include specifics on how to get more information. The brochures will be distributed to high schools across the commonwealth," she said.

Continuing Education Programs, which is a unit in Tech's Division of University Outreach and International Programs, will be working with over 20 school districts through the program.