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New Mexico Judiciary and NMCLA: Ensuring Language Access Outside the Courtroom

Ensuring Language Access Outside the Courtroom: Training Judicial Employees, is a new SJI funded project (SJI-12-N-156) of the New Mexico Judiciary. With the support of the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA), seven state courts have joined the New Mexico Center for Language Access (NMCLA), a project of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, to develop and distribute a high-quality, affordable language access training and qualification program for state court employees. The goal of this training is to improve the quality of language access services for limited English proficient (LEP) and non-English speaking individuals.

The final product of this collaborative effort will be the Language Access Basic Training Suite (LABT Suite) for state courts, an online/downloadable and easily accessible package that includes the following modules:

  1. Theory – an introduction to language access for all court employees;
  2. Practice – detailed, language-specific training for bilingual employees;
  3. Skills Assessment – optional evaluation of bilingual employees’ language skills and vocabulary.

The LABT Suite will focus on language access outside the courtroom, providing language access training for all judicial employees with specialized training for bilingual employees. It is being designed to be both affordable and easily accessible by court personnel, and will provide an option for measuring bilingual employees’ language skills and vocabulary. The intent is to develop a strong basic training curriculum, which can be customized and easily updated/revised by NMCLA on behalf of state courts nationwide. Collaborating courts, in addition to New Mexico, include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey, and North Carolina.

For more information about this project, please contact Pam Sánchez, Statewide Program Manager for Language Access Services at aocpjs@nmcourts.gov.