Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can Spanish Community Service Learning Lead to a Real Job?

by Ann Abbott

A lot of students get excited about their work in the community and using Spanish on the job and then want to find a job doing the same. So I get a lot of questions from students about how they can go about finding a job using Spanish in Champaign-Urbana or Chicago.

Chicago, I don't have any answers. I don't know the community and the agencies well enough.

Champaign-Urbana, I decided to ask a couple of people whom I thought would have some good suggestions. Both of their answers require students to do the leg-work themselves; they are truly just ideas to get students started.

Are you willing to really work to try to find a job using your Spanish? Then read what they have to say:

1. Deb Hlavna, Co-Director of ECIRMAC. Deb knows all the social service agencies in town as well as the places that could use Spanish speakers. ECIRMAC is always looking for an employee who is very fluent in Spanish and is a self-starter.

"If it were me, I would talk with the hospitals, the state of IL (DCFS etc), migrant headstart, headstart and even businesses where lots of Spanish speakers frequent. Western Union etc."

2. Nicholas Ludmer, SPAN 232/332 student and social entrepreneur. Nick took it upon himself to find work in the community this semester that coincided with his career aspirations--to be a doctor. He's doing an honors project to describe what students working in the clinic need in order to perform well, and in the meantime, he took the time to write this very detailed message to a student who is looking for a job. Thanks, Nick!

"My name is Nick, I am currently a student of Professor Abbott's in Span 332. She forwarded me your e-mail about looking for a job in Champaign, and there may actually be a position available at the place where I volunteer.

"It's called Frances Nelson Health Center, it's a health clinic out on Prospect that serves the uninsured and underinsured. Out of all of the medical providers that work there, only one speaks spanish and they are always in need of translators. In fact, one of the translators that worked at the desk just quit and I believe they are trying to fill his position.

"The responsibilities of an employed translator there are usually 1 of 3 things:
  1. You can work in medical records and help them translate and sort the information that comes through. You would also probably help make phone calls letting patients know of appointment times.
  2. You can work at the front desk, helping patients arrange appointments, discussing billing issues, and directing them to various departments within the clinic.
  3. Or, they'll have you translate between patients and the medical care providers (Doctors and Nurses)

"Although that's how they appear to have it broken down, odds are you'd probably end up doing all three at some point as they most need you.

"Anyway, I've really enjoyed working there. The people and the staff are great, and I've learned a lot. If you're interested, I could ask the site director tomorrow if they are still looking for a translator and let you know.Otherwise, here is the phone number for the site director. Her name is Andrea (I think her last name is Goldberg, it says on her answering machine). (217) 403-5401. She's definitely who you'd want to talk to. Don't be discouraged though if she doesn't call you back right away, she's really busy. It took me like three weeks to actually get in contact with her.

"Again, if you want me to inquire for you I'dbe happy to do so. Also, if you have any questions about the actual experience feel free to send me an e-mail.FELICIDADES EN TU GRADUACION!~Nick"

1 comment:

  1. Its good to know that there is market that i can use my spanish in work. At hospital and front desk