CareerCenter Hearing/Language Barriers
August 3, 2009
"How can I ensure communication access in the CareerCenter for individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing?"
From the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center (LHPDC): Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
and WIA Section 188, One-Stops must ensure that communications with individuals with hearing or speech disabilities
are as effective as communications with others. Posting universal signage throughout the CareerCenter to advertise
communication access (i.e.: picture symbols for TTY), interpreter or assistive listing devices, having a list of qualified
Sign Language Interpreters and set up procedures to secure and compensate Interpreters in a timely manner and
posting directions for staff on how to use TTY and Maine Relay are some action steps of a communication access
Most CareerCenter's in Coastal Counties Area 4 are equipped with an Interprettype/ITY, a device for writing out conversation (an alternative to exchanging handwritten notes), a TTY an electronic device for text communication through the telephone line, NexTalk on front desk staff computers , Video Phones a video camera which uses internet technology to enable communication via sign language, Pocket Talker a device for amplifying speech for communication in a one-on-one situation and a FM System a device for amplifying speech in a group setting. Resources:
Work-Site Accommodation Ideas for Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
For guidance in deciding whether to have an interpreter present to assist with providing effective communication.
For a fact sheet which explains a variety of communication methods go to:
Maine Center on Deafness: http://www.mcdmaine.org/
Rod MacInnes, VR Counselor John.R.MacInnes@maine.gov
"If a customer comes into the CareerCenter and speaks a language other than English, is the CareerCenter obligated under the ADA to ensure effective communication?"
No, not under the ADA. Yes, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d which has regulations
against national origin discrimination, Title VII which prohibits discrimination in hiring, job training and job referral,
Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) which prohibits discrimination against applicants,
employees and participants in WIA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities and programs that are part of the
One-Stop system on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex and national origin and The National Apprenticeship
Act of 1937.
Language for Person's with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) can be a barrier to accessing important benefits or services, understanding and exercising important rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding other information provided by federally funded programs and activities. The CareerCenter is obligated to ensure that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin under any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. The policy guidance reiterates the longstanding position that, in order to avoid discrimination against LEP persons on the grounds of national origin, recipients must take reasonable steps to ensure that such persons have meaningful access to the programs, services, and information those recipients provide. "Reasonable steps" may include securing an interpreter, using Language Line for interpreting and having forms translated. For more detailed information on the laws, and the government agencies regulated to enforce them, visit:
Guidance for serving Person with LEP in One-Stops: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/lep/DOLrecipientguidancefin.htm
Language Line: http://www.languageline.com
John A. Piece
The Maine Department of Labor provides equal opportunity in employment and programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.