Commission holds meetings on sign language interpreting services in rural Colorado

risp.jpgDENVER (Dec. 5, 2018) – The Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind (CCDHHDB) will hold informational meetings in La Junta, Pueblo and Fort Morgan next week to let rural Coloradans know about a new pilot program that will provide sign language interpreting services free of charge outside the Front Range.

The Rural Interpreting Services Project (RISP) pilot program will arrange for and provide sign language interpreters in rural areas at no cost to consumers or service providers. Rural communities will have access to quality interpreting services, which could include medical, legal, community or work-related situations.

This month's public meetings follow a series of meetings that were held in Durango, Alamosa and Grand Junction in October. Those meetings drew a lot of interest and resulted in numerous sign language interpreting requests. In addition, more than 20 people expressed interest in the initial or advanced sign language interpreter training that will be offered under RISP.

The two-year, $1.4 million RISP pilot program was initiated by Colorado's Joint Budget Committee after recognizing the shortage of sign language interpreters in rural communities. This shortage has contributed to frequent barriers for effective communication for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind.

People living on the Front Range already have access to established sign language interpreting services. In contrast, rural areas have less access to quality interpreting services. Interpreting services are very expensive because sign language interpreters often must be contracted from the Front Range.

The RISP pilot program will target the areas of Colorado that are outside of the Front Range, and will include Pueblo. 

To learn more about the program, attend one of the following public meetings. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Otero, Crowley and Prowers counties:
Tuesday, Dec. 11 — 10-11 a.m. for the general community; and 2-3 p.m. for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind community.
Location: Otero Junior College, Student Center, Rizzuto Banquet Hall, 2001 San Juan Ave., La Junta, CO 81050.

Pueblo County:
Wednesday, Dec. 12 — 10-11 a.m. for the general community.
Location: Pueblo City-County Library, Rawlings Bret Kelley Room A, 1st Floor, 100 E. Abriendo Ave., Pueblo, CO 81004.

Morgan and Logan counties:
Thursday, Dec. 13 — 10-11 a.m. for the general community; and 2-3 p.m. for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind community.
Location: Connections for Independent Living, 423 Main St., Suite 500, Fort Morgan, CO, 80701.

The CCDHHDB's mission is to be an agent of change for a sustainable statewide network of resources, dedicated to cultural and linguistic equality. The commission’s programs and services include auxiliary services, outreach and consultative services, a communications technology program, deafblind services, system advocacy, and a grant program. Learn more at http://ccdhh.com, or contact the commission at ccdhhdb_risp@state.co.us.