Medical interpreting job training and placement program

PROMISE program
Led by Javier Gonzales, with the Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities Service
This presentation focused on the PROMISE program, funded by the Robin Hood Foundation.
Medical interpreter training and job placement program for bilingual individuals in New York City who are unemployed or who are underemployed.

Training Program

Training is 120 hours – Multilingual model

  • Morning is didactic in English
  • Afternoon is split up into language groups  using a lot of role-playing
  • Have a lot of focus on career skill building and placement support
  • Work with veterans and people with disabilities
    • Phone interpreting can be a good fit for people with disabilities
  • Have a screening process – need to ensure bilingual competence
  • Assess potential for employment

Language Lab

    • 100 hours of language lab work – all is online
    • Also have a language lab on campus if people don’t have computers because significant difficult divide

Career Skill Building

  • Most medical interpreters are hired through agencies
  • Most difficult and challenging part is to teach people the cultural skills for getting employment in the U.S.
  • Have job fairs at institutions like Sloan Kettering.
  • Have more connections with healthcare settings
  • Also helping people find jobs as “patient navigators”

Establishing Internship Opportunities

Some challenges in being able to do this, but have recently been develop relationships with three agencies that are willing to take interns.
Enrollment has been in the 60-75 range each year.  Placement after the first year was 100% with almost 30% retaining the position for a complete year.  Given the population worked with, the 30% is considered a very effective rate.
Looking to expand the program to have more time for training and practice.  One particular area of focus is heritage speakers of the language, particularly with the challenges of regional variation within language – and learning how to maintain and utilize regional variations of language to provide better service.