MacDonald supports new ASL training course to bridge communication gaps

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Monday was on hand for the Global Interpreting Services announcement of the Have You Heard? eLearning course designed to train public safety personnel and civilian staff to effectively communicate with deaf, hard of hearing and communities with limited proficiency in English.

“Effective communication is critical to a cohesive community — from how we connect with each other and do our jobs to how we educate our children and protect our families,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “I firmly support initiatives like this eLearning course that can help improve communication and ensure that everyone has a voice, especially when interacting with law enforcement officers.”

Headquartered in Clinton Township, Global Interpreting Services, established in 1996, has three decades of experience training public safety personnel. They are experts in language services, assisting clients nationwide. Their full services include American Sign Language (ASL) and foreign language interpreting, video interpreting, phone interpreting and document translation.

“It is important for our law enforcement to provide effective communication to its citizens and not all citizens are the same,” said Dawn Flanigan, CEO of Global Interpreting Services. “We designed the course knowing the dire need for organizations to be properly trained on how to effectively communicate when the individual has a hearing loss or when English is not their primary language.”

According to Global Interpreting Services, more than 25 million people in the U.S. are considered to be limited English proficiency and 30 million people have hearing loss.

The Have You Heard? eLearning course helps improve language access in public safety departments and helps them build trust within the communities they serve.

Officers and staff would be trained to:

  • Recognize the characteristics of people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have limited English skills.
  • Establish communication with those populations.
  • Comply with federal, state, and local guidelines for providing services to those populations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorMichaelMacDonald.com/photos.

Photo caption: Sen. Michael D. MacDonald, R-Macomb Township, joined local officials and leaders from Global Interpreting Services for an announcement of the organization’s Have You Heard? eLearning course designed to train public safety personnel and civilian staff to effectively communicate with deaf, hard of hearing and communities with limited proficiency in English.