Contact Us

Changing Faces: Immigration Has Impact on Local Services and Programs [AUDIO]

St. Cloud Police Officer Burke displaying the ELSA translator
Tim Lyon

ST. CLOUD — In the St. Cloud Area School District, there are 1,200 students in the English Language program. According to Program Coordinator Natalie Prasch that number grows every year.

Prasch says they have 28 teachers who work with students who’s English skills range from none to limited. She says with 23 different languages in the EL program it can be a challenge…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

St. Cloud Police recently bought handheld devices, called ELSA. It provides immediate communication in 180 different languages through a cell phone signal. The unit is about the size of a cell phone, and can be clipped to the officer’s shirt. Police Sergeant Jason Burke says language barriers are and always will be the number one hurdle for officers in the field…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Burke says before buying the ELSA units, they often had to wait for hours before an interpreter could arrive on scene.

A close-up of the ELSA police translation device.
Tim Lyon

The healthcare industry is no different. Dr. David Tilstra is the President of CentraCare Health. He says nurses and doctors need to break down the language barrier before a diagnosis can be made. He says they use interpreters and a Language Line they can call for help.

Dr. Tilstra says cultural barriers are also a factor. Patients often don’t understand certain procedures and are fearful of doctors. Tilstra says it all puts a strain on their budget and they are always studying ways to improve efficiency and break down the language and cultural barriers.  One approach, Tilstra says, is they actively recruit multi-lingual candidates when hiring.

This is part three of a five part series, examining immigrant populations in Central Minnesota.

Read more of our WJON News series 'Changing Faces'

More News from WJON

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wjon.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on AM 1240 WJON quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Register on AM 1240 WJON quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!