IDES Human Services Plan 2010 Page 7 Section 1 -- Introduction
IDES’ Office of Community Relations will continue to focus on identifying best practices
statewide and throughout the nation that address and remediate the challenges some job
seekers face. A central focus of this effort will be the coordination of “Career Information
Events” in areas of high unemployment to promote IDES programs and services, as well
as other business and social service resources that help communities acquire and maintain
VII. STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: IMPROVE SERVICES FOR LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT (LEP)
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the foreign-born population in the United States has
grown remarkably in the last decade, rising 56% over its representation in the 1990
population. Many of these immigrants struggle with the English language. To the best of its
ability, IDES aims to ensure that limited proficiency in English does not limit equal access
to the Department’s services.
Since 2003, IDES has monitored the number of requests its customers have made for
interpretive services in IDES/Illinois workNet offices statewide to assess the scope of the
need for language assistance. As a result, the Department now employs over 100 bilingual
staff who provide language services in Spanish, Polish, or Cantonese. In addition, IDES
uses a telephone language interpretation service to provide assistance in 55 languages.
During SFY 2008, the Department received 5,500 requests for language services through
a telephone interpreter and nearly 15,000 claims were filed by individuals with a limited
proficiency in English. Continued tracking indicates that, while the number of LEP clients
continues to grow, the proportion of the primary languages they speak has remained
relatively stable. Approximately 84% speak Spanish; 5%, Polish; and the balance, a variety
of other languages.
The Department uses the LEP data it collects to evaluate the further need for bilingual staff
in its offices, improved bilingual signage, written and oral translations of relevant service-related
documents, and additional outreach and staff training. IDES has targeted the
following for additional service upgrades through SFY 2010:
● Improve Web site Accessibility.
IDES will evaluate bilingual UI claims applications (currently in paper only) and more
ES, UI benefits, and labor market information translations on its Web site. Due to the
demographics of the LEP population, primary emphasis will be on Spanish language
materials; but the Department will consider including translations into Polish and other
languages as needed.
● Publications and Public Document Forms
Currently, IDES produces 13 publications in Spanish. The publications include
information about UI, employment services, and the labor market. The Department
will continue to identify other vital documents that should be translated.
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