Collaborative Session Recaps and Progress Updates

Language Access Collaborative

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Next Up January 19, 2024 January 10, 2024 December 2023 November 21, 2023 October 31, 2023 September 19, 2023 September 7, 2023 August 15, 2023 June and July, 2023 May 18, 2023 May 16, 2023 April 18, 2023 March 21, 2023 February 21, 2023 January 27, 2023
Raleigh Team - Language Access Collaborative

Raleigh Team - Language Access Collaborative  (l-r: Omer Omer, Ellen Colón, Tierney Sneeringer, Jorge Gao, Luis Olivieri-Robert, Aracelys Torrez, Pete Weber, Jacob Barnhart)

Next Events and Tasks, Session Recaps, and Progress Updates

This page starts with a 'Next Up' section to highlight our near-future events and tasks. Below that section are brief summaries of our progress and what we learned during each workshop and learning exchange event. The page is listed blog-style with our most recent entry first.  For example, our kick-off summit summary from January 2023 is the last entry on the page. 

Next Up

 As the City's Policy Committee reviews the Plan, The Language Access Team is hosting update meetings with city staff and stakeholders.  Once the final plan is completed, the Language Access Team will proceed with having the plan added to a future City Council agenda for Council presentation (seeking adoption of the plan).

January 19, 2024

Language Access Collaborative Team

The City of Raleigh's Language Access Collaborative Team  attended a Language Access Collaborative Summit on Friday, January 19, 2024 in Chapel Hill, N.C.. All nine municipal teams congregated and gave ten minute presentations on their progress in drafting a Language Access Plan for their respective municipalities.

January 10, 2024

On Wednesday, January 10, 2024 the City of Raleigh's Policy Committee  was given a presentation by the Language Access Team on its proposed Language Access Plan. The Policy Committee reviewed the Language Access Plan to ensure it met the City's guidelines for policy.  The Policy Committee recommended the Language Access Team change some of the plan's language to focus more on guidelines for implemented the plan, and not the policy itself. 

December 2023

During the early part of December 2023,  the City of Raleigh team made final improvements and recommendations on their Language Access Plan. Our drafted Language Access Plan was then reviewed by the City of Raleigh's Attorney's Office. Their feedback was received and necessary edits were made by the Language Access Collaborative team.

November 21, 2023

Tuesday, November 21, 2023,  was Presentation Day!  Each of the nine municipal teams, which comprise the Collaborative, presented their final drafts of their Language Access Plans. Each team  had 5 minutes to present. The City of Raleigh collaborative team presented on our recommended policies, procedures, and staffing recommendations. 

October 31, 2023

The October Workshop was #6 in our series. The topic was "Sustainability & Accountability." We tasked ourselves with identifying what successful language access looks like over time.  

September 19, 2023

Our September Workshop was #5 in the series. The theme eas Connecting & Supporting Forming & centering relationships with community partners & vendors that guide your language access program. 

September 7, 2023

Our team participated in UNC’s Collaborative Chat #5 – We learned about budget models for the workplan and discussed deadlines to prepare workplan draft. Our team also met for our one of scheduled September weekly meetings and learned about Raleigh’s Organizational Excellence Initiative 5.1 work on Translation Services and discussed material learned during Chat #5.   

August 15, 2023

Collaborative Exchange - 

Our Collaborative Exchange meeting was on August 15, 2023.  Teams gave 5 minute presentations that included:

  •  Team members
  • Strategic languages
  • Three key takeaways from their surveys. 

June and July, 2023

Summer Break! 

During our summer break, there were no scheduled workshops or learning exchange events with the larger, nine municipalities collaborative. However, the City of Raleigh team met several times to continue analyzing their survey data and doing prep work for devising their language access plan. The team held two half-day work sessions on June 17 and June 20. 

The Raleigh Collaborative team also met with other N.C. municipalities who already have a language access plan in place. The team did a full day road trip to visit other municipalities on Monday, June 12, and held virtual meetings with others that same week. 

On June 18, the Raleigh Collaborative Team met with stakeholders in the community who work at organizations and missions will similar goals regarding language access. Their outside perspective was important in confirming that we are on the right path with the access plan we are crafting. 

On June 19, the team met with internal stakeholders who are City of Raleigh employees from our 22 departments. These internal stakeholders gave valuable insight as to how they currently navigate language access, and shared their desire for consistency in what the City offers. Our language access plan will provide that consistency and documentation on the process. These stakeholders will help the collaborative team to champion the language access plan once it is written. These employees will help socialize the plan within their departments to help us gain a 100% adoption of our language access plan. 

On July 6, representatives from the Raleigh Collaborative Team met with Communications Administrators in the Communications Department to strategize our communications plan for promoting the Collaborative's work so far this year, and for socializing our mission with staff, and eventually the public. This group held a follow-up meeting on July 24. 

May 18, 2023

City of Raleigh Language Access Plan Meeting

On May 18, 2023 the Raleigh Collaborative Team met internally to discuss these topics: 

  • Reports from our Department Survey Team and Data Research Team.
  • Report on combining our Organizational Excellence 5.1 Initiative of our Strategic Plan with the Collaborative. There is overlap with our mission, goals, and even some team members. 
  • Further discussion on how to use the website to archive our work and share it with the public. We will also finalize our decision on where to create a repository for our materials and data. 
  • Discussion on community engagement opportunities.
  • We will have a guest at our internal meeting. Susan Clifford, our Language Access Coordinator from UNC, will join us to check in on our progress and be available for questions.

May 16, 2023

Staff Language Capacity Assessment / Survey Report

The City of Raleigh's Staff Language Capacity Assessment / Survey Report was due on May 16, 2023. We are happy to say we concluded our report and submitted it to our Language Access Coordinator at UNC. We will be discussing the report in our next internal check-in meeting to determine how we can use the findings to devise our Language Access Plan.

April 18, 2023

Recap of Workshop #3 on Interpretation

The topic of our April 18 workshop was "Interpretation and Bilingual Staff." In advance of the session, we watched 3 foundational videos to give us a basic understanding of our topic:

  • Role of Translator & Interpreter  (2 min) - introduction to Translator vs. Interpreter: What's the difference?  Translators do the writing. Interpreters do the talking.
  • Telephonic Interpretation / OPI (<3 min) - introduction to using over-the-phone interpreting services. How to access and work with professional interpreters over the phone when you are face to face.
  • Video Remote Interpretation & Video Relay Service  (ASL focus) (5 min) - introduction about Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and Video Relay Services (VRS) and their use as a job accommodation. (ASL = American Sign Language) 

During the workshop we covered best practices and then heard a panel discussion comprised of 3 local leaders who shared  information on these 3 subtopics:

  1. Development of a Language Proficiency Assessment Tool,
  2. Development of Bilingual Pay Policy,
  3. Journey from Bilingual Staff to Interpreter. 

March 21, 2023

Recap of Workshop #2 on Assessment

Prior to the workshop, we reviewed a Language Access Survey for Departments template in English and Spanish. We also reviewed the Sample Assessment in Mike Mulé’s document (Pages 8-14): Language Access Assessment and Planning Tool for Federally Conducted and Federally Assisted Programs).

During the workshop we heard a presentation on how to access language-specific data so that we can identify the top languages spoken by people categorized as LEP in our community. We also broke out into our teams to discuss the survey and identified leads for two areas of concentration - data collection and survey administration.

February 21, 2023

Recap of Workshop #1 on Resources

Prior to our workshop, we reviewed the Limited English Proficiency website ( to review its information on language access planning and reviewed resources that would be helpful for our team as we work towards creating our own language plan for the City of Raleigh.  We also reviewed a 10/25 Memorandum of Agreement (PDF) and 10/25 Press Release (English) that would then be discussed by our Workshop #1 guest speaker during his presentation. 

During our Workshop #1, we heard from guest speaker, Michael Mulé. Mr . Mulé is an Attorney with the Dept of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Federal Coordination and Compliance Section.

January 27, 2023

Recap of Language Access Kickoff Summit

The City of Raleigh Collaborative Team traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C. on January 27, 2023 for the Language Access Collaborative Kickoff Event. The kickoff summit was a full day of guest speakers, goal-setting, and guidance on what to expect from our journey together.  It featured keynote speakers from leaders in local government language access and collaborative activities where we engaged and met with the other teams. 

Teams of employees represented these local governments: Town of Apex, Buncombe County, City of Concord, City of High Point, New Hanover County, Town of Morrisville, City of Raleigh, City of Wilmington, and City of Winston-Salem. 

The Raleigh Collaborative team left Chapel Hill feeling extremely hopeful that the next year of Collaborative work through workshops and learning exchanges was going to prove fruitful in their plan to devise a Language Access Plan for the City of Raleigh. 



Aracelys Torrez
Department of Equity and Inclusion

Ellen Colón
Office of Community Engagement

CommunicationsCommunity EngagementEquity and Inclusion
Related Services:
Language Access Collaborative