Migration Policy Institute
Proactive Engagement: Two Strategies for Providing Language Access in Workforce Development Services
Julio Rodriguez, Director of Program Services, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Haeya Yim, Counsel, Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs, New York Department of Labor
Kerry Douglas-Duffy, Workforce Development Program Specialist, Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions, New York Department of Labor
Chhandasi Pandya, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute
Inadequate interpretation services, a lack of relevant translated materials and customer service that is not culturally competent often deter limited English proficient (LEP) individuals from accessing workforce services through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)-funded One Stop system. This interactive language access webinar, one in a series offered by the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, examines how New York and Illinois have broken down some of these barriers to proactively engage LEP communities to obtain workforce services. The need to ensure meaningful access to WIA-funded employment and training services for the large share of U.S. low- and middle-skilled LEP workers is urgent, particularly in light of the tough job market and gloomy projections for the speed of recovery from the Great Recession. These featured approaches, which have entailed policy and programmatic fixes, can serve as models as states attempt to meet the workforce needs of their LEP populations and comply with federal requirements to provide meaningful language access in their federally funded programs.