The Community Spanish Facilitator Certificate is an 18-credit-hour certificate that prepares its graduates as paraprofessional translators and interpreters in the community. The program was designed to meet the needs of our increasingly international community and our Latino students, who were eager to use their bilingual skills to improve the access of Latinos to basic services (i.e., hospitals, community agencies, legal).
The program has partnered with several community organizations and local businesses in order to provide the students with the opportunity to gain further practical knowledge of translation and interpreting, to gain related work experience, and to perform community service. Each student in the certificate program also has a bilingual advisor and a faculty mentor. The program director participates in ongoing college, high school, and middle school fairs to promote the certificate among bilingual students and their parents. The program director conducts bilingual monthly information sessions about the Certificate plan of study, course offerings, and advanced career options.
The mission and purpose of the Community Spanish Facilitator Program is to train students to become paraprofessional community interpreters and translators so that they can enhance communication and cultural understanding between the Spanish- and English-speaking populations.
The number of Latino students admitted to the program has steadily risen since its inception. In 2008, 41% of the students admitted were Latino. This increase is important, given the total Hispanic population of the college is 6%. Many of these students are also first-generation college-goers. To date, 83% of Latino students have earned their Community Spanish Facilitator Certificate with an average GPA of 3.5. These figures also show high retention and success rates for Latino students. Also, based on self-reports, over 50% of those who earned the certificate are employed in the translation/interpreting field.
This program was recognized as an Honorable Mention for making innovative and/or significant improvement in increasing Latino student success.