This section of the Inclusive Virginia website provides information, partnerships, and resources for adult education practitioners on supporting adult learners with differing abilities.
Language access refers to providing clients with access to written and verbal information in their home or native language. As of Spring 2022, Virginia does not have a state-wide language access policy; however, the information and resources here provide examples of and further information for developing a language access plan.
Examples of language access in adult education:
Communication & Information: Providing translation and interpretation services for written or verbal information in targeted home or native languages of the local multilingual population. This information includes but is not limited to:
- Recruitment messages
- Program requirements: Multilingual ASPD Videos
- Press conferences
- Program announcements/updates
- Press releases
- Support services: Zoom Video Tutorials for Multilingual Students
Digital Spaces: Providing translation services in targeted home language of the local multilingual population on websites and social media pages. For example, Virginia Adult Education Region 5’s website has a Google Translate plugin where multilingual learners can select their home language.
Resources for providing translation or interpretation services
- Translators without borders: This organization provides free or low-cost translation services to non-profit organizations.
- Tarjimly: This mobile device application connects users to free translation and interpretation services within 2 minutes. This video presents more information on this application and its services.
- American Translator Association: This organization helps people connect to professional translation and interpretation services.
Connect with local community organizations or immigrant/refugee-serving organizations for interpretation or translation recommendations.
- Office of New Americans: Implements a statewide strategy to provide immigrants with comprehensive assistance related to employment, housing, healthcare, education, citizenship and other services for which they may be eligible.
- ReEstablish Richmond: Works to connect refugees and new immigrants to the resources needed to establish roots, build community, and become self-sufficient.
- IRC Charlottesville: Helps people (in the Charlottesville area) affected by humanitarian crises—including the climate crisis—to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.
- IRC Richmond: Helps people (in the Richmond area) affected by humanitarian crises—including the climate crisis—to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.
- Catholic Charities: Provides compassionate, competent and professional services to strengthen and support individuals, families and communities based on the recognition of the value and dignity of human life. Located across Northern Virginia.
- Commonwealth Catholic Charities: Provides translation and interpretation services in a variety of languages and has locations in Charlottesville, Newport News, Norton, Norfolk, Petersburg, Richmond, and Roanoke.
- Sacred Heart Center: Connects Latino families (in the Richmond area) with tools to thrive and flourish.
Resources for identifying common languages at the local level
- 2020 Virginia Census Data
- VDOE data: Annual count by Virginia school systems of students who report speaking a language other than English at home as part of their school registration. This resource downloads as an Excel spreadsheet that is searchable by K-12 school districts.
Programs can also conduct a home language survey. This is a common tool in K-12 education. Here are some examples:
- Chapter 1 Tools and Resources for Identifying All English Learners: This Department of Education publication provides an explanation for and presents examples of home language surveys.
- California Department of Education Home Language Survey
- Fairfax County, Virginia Home Language Survey
Language Access Resources
It is important to note that most resources on the topic of language access refer to the “LEP” population or those with limited proficiency in English. However, in order to have a more asset-based mindset on the topic, we encourage the use of language such as the emerging English language learner population or multilingual population when referring to those who speak other languages.