DLEG Announces New Video Remote Interpreting Call Center Provides Instant Communication Access for Deaf Individuals In West Michigan
February 22, 2007
- Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth Director Robert W. Swanson today announced the launch of the Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) call center in Muskegon. VRI enables Deaf and hearing individuals who are in the same location to easily conduct conversations through a remote interpreter, video conferencing technology, and a high-speed Internet connection.
The VRI call center was established by a partnership involving DLEG, the Communication Access Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of Flint, and the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Connection of Muskegon, where it is located. The center is designed to increase access to qualified interpreters for Deaf residents, businesses and human service organizations in Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa counties.
Swanson said, "VRI will greatly benefit more than 4,500 Deaf individuals in West Michigan who rely on American Sign Language to communicate especially those living in rural areas where there's been a lack of qualified interpreters."
VRI provides Deaf customers, local businesses and organizations with an alternative to the use of on-site sign language interpreters. VRI employs full motion video conferencing technology, allowing both deaf and hearing persons in the same room to communicate instantly with certified interpreters located in a remote video call center. The benefits of VRI include: no waiting time for interpreters to arrive, no advanced scheduling, no minimum charges, no travel charges, and compatibility with most existing video conferencing systems.
Individuals, companies, hospitals, schools and state and federal agencies can now more easily fulfill the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and No Child Left Behind, by subscribing to the VRI service.
"VRI provides instantaneous communication between Deaf and hearing persons in medical, educational, legal, and employment settings," Swanson said. "VRI will help empower and engage Deaf individuals in West Michigan, furthering our mission of promoting economic and workforce development, and enhancing the quality of life for all Michigan citizens."
DLEG awarded $120,000 in grants to support the new VRI call center. The grants were issued by three bureaus within DLEG: Michigan Rehabilitation Services, the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns, and the Michigan Commission for the Blind. The grants are comprised of federal funds under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and state funds.
The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Connection first opened in October 2003 with grant funding from DLEG and matching funds from four local community foundations: the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the Fremont Area Foundation, the Gerber Foundation and the Grand Haven Area Foundation.
Read more Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth press releases.