Amidst shortage, TJC offers ASL Skills Certificate to get interpreters into community | kltv

In East Texas there are about 90,000 people in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. There are only about 1,500 interpreters in the state to assist these individuals.

“We are in a crisis. We do have a severe shortage of interpreters, and that happened before COVID. With COVID, things went remote so a lot of interpreters went remote with companies that provide remote services,” said TJC’s Interpreter Training Program Coordinator and professor Kim Hunt.

She explained that those in the deaf or hard-of-hearing community prefer face-to-face interactions, as technology isn’t always reliable.

TJC offers an Associate of Applied Science in Sign Language.

“We need interpreters that can go out and do any kind of assignment, and then we need specialty interpreters for legal, medical, mental health, special education settings, and so forth,” Hunt said.

TJC’s program has a goal of getting more certified interpreters into the community. Students can join at any semester and still be on track to complete the two-year degree.

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