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Language Access - Policy & Guidance

As a means to ensure non-discriminatory practices in providing limited English proficient (“LEP”) members of the public with uninhibited access to Extension programming and activities, it is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension to offer and provide timely and free accommodations for program participants.

Policy Information

Approval Authority

Dominic J. Ledesma (Interim Director, Office of Access, Inclusion & Compliance)

Policy Manager

Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance

Policy Contact

Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance, 608-263-1125, oaic@extension.wisc.edu

Rationale/Purpose

As a means to ensure non-discriminatory practices in providing limited English proficient (“LEP”) members of the public with uninhibited access to Extension programming and activities, it is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension to offer and provide timely and free accommodations for program participants.

Definitions

LEP: Limited English Proficient;

Scope

Extension faculty and staff

Policy

As a means to ensure non-discriminatory practices in providing limited English proficient (“LEP”) members of the public with uninhibited access to Extension programming and activities, it is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension to offer and provide timely and free language access accommodations. Language access accommodations includes, but is not limited to, providing interpreter services during program events and the creation of multilingual materials to mitigate language-based barriers for LEP learner-participants. LEP learner-participant refers to any member of the public who may be limited in their ability to read, write, speak, or understand the English language. Guidance on how to Extension employees are expected to comply with this policy is provided below.

Implementing guidance

In order to ensure that members of the public have access to appropriate accommodations, Extension colleagues are expected to I.) understand their role and responsibilities in providing language access accommodations, II.) inform the public of the availability of language access accommodations, and III.) coordinate their language access planning needs through the Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance (OAIC) Language Access Team.

I. Roles and responsibilities around language access accommodations

All Extension employees have a responsibility for ensuring that members of the public have equitable access to our programs and activities, with or without the need for language access accommodations. Thus, Extension employees are expected to have a baseline understanding of the frequency with which activities in their programming areas interact with, and serve, LEP members of the public. 

a. If Extension employees are unsure how frequently their programming area interacts with LEP members of the public or how to anticipate the need for language access accommodations, they are encouraged to speak with their supervisor and other colleagues within their respective programming areas and Institutes. If colleagues are still unsure about how to assess language access needs related to their programming, they can direct their questions to oaic@extension.wisc.edu.

b. All Extension colleagues are expected to familiarize themselves with the information and resources pertaining to language access that is available through the Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance. To access OAIC websites and resources, please follow this link: https://blogs.extension.wisc.edu/oaic/. 

c. Extension employees are expected to know how to access support for providing language access accommodations during programming events. This includes understanding how to access Extension’s Language Access Team support for program planning and delivery.

II. Notifying the public of the availability of language access accommodations

In alignment with our federal non-discrimination responsibilities, all county Extension offices are expected to display a notification to members of the public that identifies the availability of language access accommodations. For specific information and guidance on LEP compliance for county Extension offices, please follow the link to following webpage: https://blogs.extension.wisc.edu/languageaccess/lepcompliance/ 

Furthermore, all individual colleagues providing programming on behalf of Extension colleagues are expected to proactively inform members of the public that language accommodations are available and can be provided free of charge for participants. Proactively informing members of the public includes sharing relevant information about language accommodations with LEP members of the public and other interested parties as a routine part of program outreach and communications. Please note: Not all members of the public may be aware that Extension has a language access policy and can provide timely language access accommodations at no charge to our program participants.

III. Coordinating language access needs through OAIC’s Language Access Team

Extension’s Language Access Team is dedicated to providing support for language access accommodations statewide. Our team also coordinates with third-party vendors to provide accommodations during program events when our staff capacity is limited to provide language access accommodations in-house. Given the increasing demands on providing language access accommodations during programming, the OAIC has developed an intake process to streamline and coordinate all requests for translations, interpreter services, and other types of language access accommodations.

a. How to request support for language access services

Extension colleagues are expected to utilize the OAIC support request intake form to coordinate their language access accommodations. Click on the following link to access OAIC’s intake form: OAIC Support Request Form. Submitting requests through this platform allows OAIC staff to work directly with Extension employees on the steps they need to take for coordinating language access accommodations for their program events and activities. OAIC will only be accepting requests made through the OAIC support request intake form unless specially requested by the director of the OAIC or the OAIC team themselves.

b. Preparation time needed for coordinating translation accommodations  

The Language Access team requires a minimum of 15 business day preparation time from the day the materials are submitted for coordinating and completing translation accommodation services. The 15-day preparation time is necessary and appropriate for the Language Access Team to coordinate services through third-party vendors if needed and appropriately vet and proof translations for quality. The more advanced notice and time the OAIC has in responding to support requests, the better prepared all parties will be in equitably serving LEP participants through our programs and activities.

c. Lead time needed for coordinating interpretation accommodations

The Language Access team requires a minimum of 15 business day lead time for responding and coordinating interpretation services. A 15-day lead time is a necessary and appropriate for the Language Access Team to obtain necessary details and materials from the requester, schedule services for an event, prepare for the programming event, and coordinate services through third-party vendors if needed. The more advanced notice and time the OAIC has in responding to support requests, the better prepared all parties will be in equitably serving LEP participants through our programs and activities.

d. Requests for language access accommodations submitted within 15 business days of a program event date or deadline

The Language Access team is aware that there may be extenuating circumstances with program event planning that prevent them from requesting support with at least 15 business days prior notice. Should OAIC receive support requests for accommodations with less than a 15 business day preparation time for translation services or lead time for interpretation services, we will do our best to work with the requester to provide accommodations. However, please note that the feasibility to coordinate appropriate language access accommodations may be significantly constrained. For any support requests received by OAIC with less than 15 business days notice, our staff will do our best to inform requesters of the constraints depending on the scope and nature of the project.

e. Requests for language access accommodations submitted within 5 business days from a program event date or deadline

The Language Access Team will not be able to coordinate language access services for support requests that are submitted within 5 or less business days of the program event date or deadline. Given the current demands on our unit’s project workflow and staff capacity, we are unable to guarantee the appropriate level of coordination that is needed for processing urgent requests. If our team is unable to fulfill accommodation requests submitted within 5 business days, we will notify the requester via email and offer recommendations and suggestions for how the requester can anticipate and plan for future language access needs.

f. Accountability

The OAIC and Language Access Team is accountable to supporting Extension employees with their programming efforts so as to offer and provide LEP members with free and timely accommodations. Extension colleagues are accountable for ensuring that their program planning and delivery efforts meet our established protocols and procedures for making this process as seamless as possible. Our goal is to provide accommodations in a manner that does not inhibit or exclude the participation of LEP learner-participants in Extension programs and activities. OAIC will make every effort possible to monitor our efforts to meet language access needs statewide and provide appropriate training staff on how to proactively integrate language access accommodations. Our mutual interest in coordinating support in the most effective ways possible is to promote Extension programs and activities as multilingual and linguistically inclusive spaces for all members of the public, regardless of their dominant or preferred language.

Effective Date

11/15/2020

Policy History

Issuance Date 04/2018

Revised Dates 11/15/2020

Next Review Date

11/2022




Keywords:Language Access Policy Guidance LEP   Doc ID:107803
Owner:Nathaniel S.Group:Extension Handbook
Created:2020-12-11 17:26 CSTUpdated:2022-07-25 14:34 CST
Sites:Extension Handbook
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