Florida PYs 2020-2023 Published Approved

Located in:

i. 5. Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

Describe how the designated State unit has personnel or obtains the services of other individuals who are able to communicate in appropriate modes of communication with or in the native language of applicants or eligible individuals who have limited English speaking ability.

Current Narrative:

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

VR employees need to be able to work with Florida’s diverse population. One way VR does this is to actively recruit counselors and support employees who have diverse backgrounds. VR places advertisements in newspapers that reach diverse group of people and collaborates with local civic and social service groups. VR also provides a five percent pay increase to bilingual staff, for positions where this is beneficial to the agency. Bilingual individuals are on staff, but qualified interpreters or translators will continue to be used when a counselor is unable to communicate directly with a customer in his/her preferred language. VR will continue to partner with local vendors to offer this service.

American Sign Language interpreting needs for customers who are Deaf or Deaf blind are met using a either staff interpreters (including those hired via the contract with Service Source) or arrangements with qualified local interpreter service providers. When either staff interpreters or local interpreters are not available, VR will reschedule appointments or use available text communication devices with customers. VR also has assistive listening devices available in most offices for VR employees to communicate with individuals who are hard of hearing or late-deafened and do not know sign-language.

In addition, VR complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act by providing materials in braille and large print as requested by the customer.  Further, VR provides for an initial increase in a starting salary for individuals who are fluent in Spanish, Creole or Haitian.  Staff also arranges for bilingual spoken language interpreters/translators if a bilingual staff is not available.