Incentive Pay For Bilingual Workers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Incentive Pay For Bilingual Workers

Speaking Spanish could mean making more money. The demand for bilingual speakers is growing across the U.S. because of the booming Hispanic population. Many places find themselves needing to translate for non-English speakers.  The demand is so high in Tyler, T.I.S.D. is having to bring people in from other countries.

"We have about 120," said Tyler ISD Director of Bilingual Services Frances Balderrama.  Even with that many teachers, TISD needs more. The demand is so great,they've had to look beyond our borders for bilingual teachers. Some are brought to Tyler from Mexico and Spain. T.I.S.D. Director of Bilingual Programs Frances Balderrama says bi-lingual teachers are a necessity for non-English speaking students.

"They can relate to the teacher and the teacher can relate to them and that's a big motivator. The teacher will understand where they're coming from and what their needs are. And they children can relate to someone that looks like them," said Balderrama.

T.I.S.D. has an incentive plan in place to attract more bilingual teachers to the area. It includes a $2,000 stipend and a sing-up bonus, which starts at $1,500. The Tyler Police Department also has an incentive plan. Theirs offers $100 more per month for bilingual speakers. "Our Hispanic population is growing and there are more Hispanics in the community, so therefore, if they're not able to speak English, we need that translation to be able to understand," said Tyler Police Department public information officer Don Martin.

In order to get the incentive pay, employees must pass a strict test.   Tyler Police Department data management supervisor Juanita McCoy was one of the first workers to get the incentive pay 10 years ago. "Prior to having a Hispanic office worker, I couldn't get my work done because I was out translating and interpreting," said McCoy.

The Tyler Police Department currently has 10 bilingual workers on staff. "We certainly would like to have more Spanish-speaking officers out on the street," said Martin. T.I.S.D. expects to need at least 20 more bilingual teachers for the 2008 school year.

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.


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