Final Priority-Training of Interpreters for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind Program, 48335-48346 [2016-17404]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations zone on the Illinois River from mile 69.3 to mile 69.8. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2–1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule. (2) To seek permission to enter, contact the COTP or the COTP’s representative via VHF–FM channel 16, or through Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River at 314–269–2332. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or the COTP’s designated representative. (d) Enforcement period. This rule will be enforced from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily beginning on July 25, 2016 through August 16, 2016. G. Protest Activities The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels. Dated: July 18, 2016. M.L. Malloy, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Upper Mississippi River. List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165 Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 165 as follows: PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05–1, 6.04–1, 6.04–6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. 2. Add § 165.T08–0678 to read as follows: ■ asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES § 165.T08–0678 Safety Zone; Illinois River 69.3 to 69.8; Meredosia, IL. (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All waters of the Illinois River mile 69.3 to 69.8, extending the entire width of the river. (b) Definitions. As used in this section, designated representative means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Upper Mississippi River (COTP) in the enforcement of the safety zone. (c) Regulations. (1) Under the general safety zone regulations in subpart C of this part, you may not enter the safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the COTP or the COTP’s designated representative. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 [FR Doc. 2016–17240 Filed 7–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter III [Docket ID ED–2016–OSERS–0005; CFDA Number: 84.160C.] Final Priority—Training of Interpreters for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind Program Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Final priority. AGENCY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a final priority under the Training of Interpreters for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Individuals Who Are DeafBlind program. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year 2016 and later years. We take this action to provide training and technical assistance to better prepare novice interpreters to become highly qualified nationally certified sign language interpreters. DATES: This priority is effective August 24, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristen Rhinehart-Fernandez, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5062, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202–2800. Telephone: (202) 245–6103 or by email: Kristen.Rhinehart@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of Program: Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48335 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) makes grants to public and private nonprofit agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, to establish interpreter training programs or to provide financial assistance for ongoing interpreter training programs to train a sufficient number of qualified interpreters throughout the country. The grants are designed to train interpreters to effectively interpret and transliterate using spoken, visual, and tactile modes of communication; ensure the maintenance of the interpreting skills of qualified interpreters; and provide opportunities for interpreters to improve their skills in order to meet both the highest standards approved by certifying associations and the communication needs of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772(f). Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 396. We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for this competition in the Federal Register on April 7, 2016 (81 FR 20268). That notice contained background information and our reasons for proposing the particular priority. Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 26 parties submitted comments on the proposed priority. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priority. Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priority since publication of the NPP follows. State-Level Certification or Licensure Comment: A few commenters suggested broadening the proposed outcomes for the Experiential Learning Model Demonstration Center (Center) beyond national certification to include State-level certification or licensure. These commenters noted that, in some States, the State certification system is used to prepare interpreters for advancement to national-level certification. Other States use the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) and the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) for certification or licensure to offer interpreting services within the State. Finally, one commenter stated that acknowledging the variability in State- E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 48336 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations to-State licensure and certification requirements is essential in meeting the goal of novice interpreters in the experiential learning program achieving national certification. Discussion: One goal of this program is to increase the number and quality of nationally certified interpreters. We do not agree that modification of the proposed outcomes to include Statelevel certification or licensure is appropriate for the Center. First, designating national certification as a desired outcome for novice interpreters in the experiential learning program will ensure consistency in the training of these interpreters, as well as the competencies these interpreters will possess by the end of the training period. This will also ensure that novice interpreters will effectively meet the evolving needs of youth and adults in the United States who are deaf and hard of hearing or are deaf-blind, including those who are consumers of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system. Second, there is limited information available on the reliability and validity of assessments used by States to confer certifications and licensures. For example, in some cases, an individual pays a fee to receive a license to work as an interpreter in a State, regardless of skill or competency. In other cases, assessments, such as the BEI, are State specific, and there is no information about how the specific levels of skills and competencies they assess compare with the level of skills and competencies required to pass other State-level licensure tests, let alone the national interpreter certification exam. Conversely, national certification assessments have undergone psychometric evaluation to ensure consistency, reliability, and validity of results. Finally, the EIPA does not apply to the training we intend to be offered by the Center. The EIPA focuses on interpreting competencies that are necessary to effectively interpret in elementary and secondary general education settings. We intend for the Center to train interpreters with specific competencies that are necessary to effectively interpret for youth and adults who are deaf 1 or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind, including those who are VR consumers in transition from school to post-school 1As used in this notice, the word ‘‘deaf’’ refers to (1) ‘‘deaf’’ and ‘‘Deaf’’ people, i.e. to the condition of deafness; (2) to ‘‘deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind’’; and (3) to individuals who are culturally Deaf and who use American Sign Language (ASL). When we use ‘‘Deaf,’’ we refer only to the third group. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 activities in postsecondary education, employment, and community settings. None of this, however, prohibits applicants from using State certification or licensure as an internal benchmark, if applicable, for tracking participant progress towards achieving national certification. Change: None. Prospective Applicants Comment: Many commenters addressed the proposed requirement that the lead applicant must be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE). Many commenters recommended removing this requirement because (1) CCIE accreditation is voluntary, (2) CCIE is not accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is the body that accredits and sets standards for organizations that review and accredit higher education programs, and (3) attending a CCIE accredited interpreter education program is not a requirement for becoming a credentialed interpreter. Several other commenters were concerned that the requirement would limit the pool of eligible applicants because only about one-third of 44 baccalaureate interpreting programs nationwide are CCIE accredited. In addition, there are five CCIE accredited associate of the arts (AA) degree interpreting programs. A few commenters stated that the proposed requirement would mean that programs on the path to accreditation, private entities that do not possess or have such accreditation available to them, and non-CCIE accredited programs offering rigorous, high-quality instruction in American Sign Language (ASL)-English interpretation would not be eligible to serve as a lead applicant. Several commenters stated that CCIE accreditation standards do not include several areas that are significant to the proposed priority, including accessibility of, access to, interaction with, and immersion in the Deaf community; having an available Deaf population to promote student training; and standards such as ASL fluency. One commenter estimated the cost of accreditation from CCIE at $10,000 or more and noted that some organizations are not in a position to support CCIErelated costs at this time. Finally, one commenter suggested that CCIE accreditation be considered as a secondary qualification, rather than a requirement for the lead applicant. Discussion: We believe the proposed requirement for the lead applicant to be accredited by CCIE aligns with the goal of the Center to improve the quality of PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 interpreters nationwide and therefore should be maintained in the priority. While we recognize CCIE is not accredited by CHEA, we do not believe this will adversely impact the lead applicant’s ability to effectively design and implement this Center because each accreditation has a different purpose. CHEA focuses on the quality of higher education institutions and programs in order for the public to know that an institution or program provides an overall quality education. By contrast, the mission of CCIE is focused specifically on professionalism in the field of interpreter education through the accreditation of professional preparation programs, the development and revision of interpreter education standards, the encouragement of excellence in program development, a national and international dialogue on the preservation and advancement of standards in the field of interpreter and higher education, and the application of knowledge, skills, and ethics of the profession. There are currently 13 CCIEaccredited programs 2 across the country that would meet the lead applicant requirement for this competition. At present, CCIE is the only entity in the field of interpreter education that measures the standards of interpreter education programs. We recognize that these standards are the minimum requirements for CCIE accreditation and a program may exceed these standards in many areas, including those indicated by the comments. One of the goals of the Center is to increase accessibility of and access to interaction and immersion in the Deaf community, having an available Deaf population to promote student training, and standards such as ASL fluency. As such, we believe the requirements in the priority support this goal. We acknowledge that CCIE accreditation is voluntary and that attending a CCIE-accredited interpreter education program is not a requirement for becoming a credentialed interpreter. However, we believe that the interpreter education program should be accredited. The Center is then better positioned to incorporate interpreter education standards into the design and delivery of training and to evaluate its effectiveness in increasing the number of certified interpreters. While non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree English-ASL programs are not eligible as the lead applicant, they may serve as members of the consortium. We respect and value 2 www.discoverinterpreting.com/?Find_an_ASLEnglish_Interpreting_program. E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES non-CCIE accredited programs offering rigorous, high-quality interpreter education. We are also sensitive to budgetary and other constraints that may limit institutions pursuing CCIE accreditation. We encourage eligible lead applicants to consider a number of appropriate entities, including highquality non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree interpreter education programs, to carry out the work of the consortium. Change: None. Consideration of Other Eligible Applicants Comment: Some commenters suggested consideration of other eligible lead applicants or as members of the consortium such as AA programs, associate in applied sciences (AAS) programs, and master’s degree interpreter education programs that prepare interpreter educators in addition to hosting baccalaureate degree programs that prepare students to work in kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) settings upon graduation. Discussion: The proposed priority did not specify that programs offering both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in interpreter education could serve as lead applicants if the program holds CCIE accreditation. We agree that these programs should be eligible lead applicants and may also serve as members of the consortium, and we are revising the priority accordingly. However, AA/AAS programs are not eligible lead applicants. Since July 2012, there has been an educational requirement for an individual to sit for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf National Interpreter Certification test. Specifically, candidates must possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in any field or major, or a demonstrated educational equivalency. We want to ensure that, while the individuals served by the Center require additional skills training to be provided by the Center, they otherwise meet the requirements to sit for the National Certification examination. Programs that prepare students to work in K–12 settings are not eligible lead applicants or members of the consortium because the focus of this program is to prepare novice interpreters to work in VR settings. We believe this focus was implied in the background section of the priority but recognize it was not clearly stated within the proposed priority. Therefore, we take this opportunity to provide further explanation to support the focus of this program. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 support to transition-age youth and adults with disabilities through such activities as funding various VR services and training of qualified personnel. The final priority aligns with the WIOA framework by focusing on the training of qualified interpreters to work with transition-age youth and adults who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. Thus, programs that prepare students to work in K–12 settings are not eligible applicants or members of the consortium because WIOA funds do not support training of interpreters to work in K–12 settings, with the exception of transition services. Change: Under the purpose of the priority, we have clarified that the Center must prepare novice interpreters to work in VR settings. In paragraph (a) under ‘‘Establish a consortium’’ in the Project Activities section of the priority, we have clarified that an eligible consortium can be comprised of a designated lead applicant that operates both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in interpreter education that are recognized and accredited by CCIE. Members of a Consortium Comment: A number of commenters asked that we clarify which entities must be represented in the consortium. One commenter recommended maintaining the proposed entities in order to gain the broadest analysis of effective models and practices possible. In addition, commenters also stated that the entities participating in the consortium should be required to include individuals who are experienced and qualified interpreters, interpreter educators, trained mentors, and individuals who are deaf, as well as those who can model native (first language) fluency in ASL. One commenter stated that the most successful experiential learning programs include coaching, mentoring, and explicit instruction that focuses specifically on the skills for interacting in diverse cultural milieus. Discussion: We agree that we need to clarify paragraph (b) under ‘‘Establish a consortium’’ and the types of entities that must be represented in the consortium. When we stated in the proposed priority that ‘‘members of the consortium must be staffed by or have access to experienced and certified interpreters, interpreter educators, and trained mentors with the capability in providing feedback and guidance to novice interpreters, and in serving as language models,’’ we meant that members of the consortium must have on staff, or have access to, individuals PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48337 who are deaf and who can model native (first language) fluency in ASL. Applicants are encouraged to include in their consortium other appropriate entities such as VR agencies, community-based organizations, and State commissions. Applicants could develop at least one partnership with a community-based entity (for example, with a Commission for the Deaf that is knowledgeable and involved in the delivery of interpreter services), at least one partnership with industry or government agencies (e.g., State VR agencies or American Job Centers) and at least one partnership with postsecondary settings (e.g., universities that serve a large number of deaf and hard of hearing students). Each of these partnerships would yield different types of learning and coaching contexts and allow for dynamic application of new ideas and structures for possible replication. In addition, non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree EnglishASL programs may serve as members of the consortium. We agree that training for novice interpreters must include skills for interacting in diverse cultural milieus and, as such, members of the consortium must represent diverse linguistic and cultural minority backgrounds and be qualified to provide instruction on best practices for interpreting in diverse cultural and linguistic settings. Change: In paragraph (b) under ‘‘Establish a consortium’’ in the Project Activities section of the priority, we clarified that members of the consortium must be staffed by or have access to experienced and certified interpreters, interpreter educators, individuals who are deaf, trained mentors, and first language models in ASL. We added that consortium members must represent diverse linguistic and cultural minority backgrounds and be qualified to provide instruction on best practices in interpreting in diverse cultural and linguistic settings. Consortium Expectations in Terms of Cost Match Comment: One commenter asked whether consortium members or other identified partners must contribute to the cost of implementation, either through direct or indirect contributions. Discussion: The proposed priority did not address this question. The responsibility for costs associated with all aspects of the Center, such as program design, implementation, training activities, and evaluation, as well as oversight and management of the Center, will be determined and E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 48338 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES agreed upon by the lead applicant, members of the consortium, and other identified partners. This also applies to determining any direct or indirect costs or in-kind contributions made by the lead applicant, members of the consortium, and other identified partners. The notice inviting applications will specify whether there is a cost-matching requirement and, if so, it will confirm the percentage of the match. Regardless of how the lead applicant, consortium members, and other identified partners determine shared costs, it is ultimately the responsibility of the lead applicant to meet the cost-matching requirement. Change: None. Team Comprised of Native Language Users, Qualified Interpreters, and Trained Mentors Comment: We received several comments about the proposed requirement for the consortium to establish a team of native language users, qualified interpreters, and trained mentors to partner with novice interpreters during and after successful completion of the experiential learning program. Overall, commenters recommended maintaining separation of these positions but indicated a need for clear definitions, roles, responsibilities, and the training and qualifications necessary for each position within the team. Rather than the Department developing its own definitions, one commenter recommended the Department use applicable definitions developed by the Office of Personnel Management when defining the roles of these team members. Two commenters stated that native language users not only include deaf individuals but also those individuals who have grown up using the language and are fluent in it (e.g., children of deaf adults). In addition to serving as language models, native language users should provide mentorship in linguistic and cultural competencies. Another commenter suggested combining the roles of native language user and trained mentor. Discussion: We will not further specify who must be a member of the team to work with novice interpreters. We believe applicants are best suited to assemble an inclusive and appropriate team. Applicants may define team members and determine the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of these positions. While we acknowledge that some roles among team members may be shared or combined, we expect, however, the team to include, at minimum, native language users, qualified interpreters, and trained mentors, as well as other appropriate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 members. By not requiring other specific team members, we will also avoid inadvertently excluding potential team members. The Department acknowledges there are interpreter-related definitions available through other Federal agencies. However, we want to ensure that any interpreter-related definitions are appropriate for the Center and align with the statute and regulations for this program. In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2015 (80 FR 20988), we proposed to amend the definition of a ‘‘qualified professional’’ to mean an individual who has (1) met existing certification or evaluation requirements equivalent to the highest standards approved by certifying associations; and (2) successfully demonstrated interpreting skills that reflect the highest standards approved by certifying associations through prior work experience.’’ The term ‘‘qualified interpreter’’ used throughout the proposed priority is synonymous with ‘‘qualified professional.’’ A notice of final rulemaking is anticipated to publish in late July. Change: We replaced the term ‘‘qualified interpreter’’ with ‘‘qualified professional’’ for accuracy and consistency with our regulations. Under Training Activities, in paragraph (a)(1), we added that applicants must describe in their application the roles and responsibilities for each team member. Project Timelines Comment: Commenters generally supported the proposed timeline to plan and design the curriculum, develop training modules, and to implement a pilot experiential learning program within the first two years of the grant period. However, one commenter cautioned that expecting students to become ready-to-work interpreters by attending a four-year program is unrealistic. Another commenter reasoned that a sustainable program needs two to three years to design, implement, evaluate, revise, and continue implementation with three to four graduated cohorts in order to generate evidence of impact. Discussion: We recognize that graduates from baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpreter training programs may not be immediately ready to work and that is why we are establishing a model demonstration center to better prepare novice interpreters to become nationally certified sign language interpreters. We also agree that adequate time is needed to analyze evidence and assess the PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 program. One of the reasons for piloting the program in a single site by year two is to identify and resolve issues and challenges that may arise, as well as to make improvements to the content and delivery of the training based on feedback from the team working with the novice interpreters and the novice interpreters participating in the first pilot. This Center is a demonstration and, at the conclusion of the grant, we will assess program outcomes and determine whether or not an experiential learning approach had an impact in improving the preparation of novice interpreters. For these reasons, we believe the proposed timelines are reasonable. Change: None. Project Activities Comment: Several commenters suggested that we include in the priority additional project activities that are associated with long-term success for ASL-English interpreters. Some examples of additional project activities included: (1) Volunteer interpreting experiences pairing experienced interpreters who agree to volunteer with novice interpreters; (2) in-service training programs built around individualized skills development activities/modules determined after a comprehensive diagnostic assessment to increase novice practitioner performance; (3) scripted training exercises involving real-life scenarios with actors/mentors from the Deaf community; (4) curricular modifications and differentiation strategies to serve novice interpreters who are children of deaf adults (CODAs), particularly CODAs of color; (5) socialization with the Deaf community; and (6) field-based induction programs that employ more direct supervision of work experiences than is typically available through mentorship. Discussion: Applicants must meet the minimum proposed project activities and may add or incorporate other specific activities, including the activities described in the comments, as appropriate, in order to strengthen the design, curriculum, and training developed and delivered by the Center. We encourage applicants to include in their proposed project any additional activities that they believe would improve the preparation of novice interpreters. Change: None. Measures for Assessing the Improvement in Interpreting Skills of Novice Interpreters Comment: Several commenters suggested that, to assess outcomes more E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations effectively and in a way that goes beyond self-reported ‘‘meaningfulness,’’ we require in the priority the use of specific assessment tools to measure the improvement in interpreting skills of novice interpreters, such as diagnostic assessments/reviews; tools that address the proficiency of educational interpreters, such as the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) developed by Boys Town National Research Hospital; assessments used by the American Council for Teaching Foreign Languages, Texas Board for Evaluators of Interpreters, and Utah Interpreting Program; pre- and post-program scores on the American Sign Language Proficiency Inventory; or general assessment instruments like the Cultural Intelligence Scale, Intercultural Development Inventory, or other wellreviewed measures of intercultural competence. One commenter stated that measurement of instruction in core dispositions of novice interpreters is needed because without instruction in and measurement of elements of essential professional attributes, a novice interpreter may become more of a ‘‘language technician’’ but not a true mediator. Discussion: We acknowledge there are several assessment tools that may be appropriate to measure the improvement in interpreting skills of novice interpreters, and we believe that applicants are better positioned to determine which tools are most appropriate for their proposed projects. Nothing in this priority prevents applicants from choosing to use any valid or reliable assessment tool to gauge the progress of novice interpreters. Any proposed instruments must be valid and reliable and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use of each instrument. Change: We have added the requirements that any proposed instruments must be valid and reliable, and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use of each instrument, to paragraphs (b)(9) and (c) of the Training Activities section and paragraph (c)(1) in the Application Requirements section. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Pilot Sites Comment: A few commenters asked that we clarify which entities are eligible to be pilot sites. More specifically, one commenter noted that the proposed priority indicated in one place that a partner organization may be a pilot site, while providing in another place that the pilot site must be an existing baccalaureate degree ASLEnglish interpretation program. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Discussion: We agree there was an inconsistency in the proposed priority. The pilot site entity must be hosted by a baccalaureate degree ASL-English program. This is essential to the priority because we believe these specific programs demonstrate the ability to effectively recruit and select cohort participants, as well as track and evaluate participants. However, to provide applicants with more flexibility, we also want to clarify that applicants may either identify eligible pilot sites in their application or describe the process and criteria they will use to identify eligible pilot sites upon award. We also clarify that partner organizations may serve as experiential learning sites. Changes: We have revised paragraph (b)(1) in the Training Activities section of the priority to require applicants to identify at least three existing baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs to host the pilot sites. We have also added to paragraph (b)(1) that applicants may describe the process and criteria they will use to identify the pilot sites upon award. Cohort Participants Comment: Several commenters asked that the Department clarify the qualifications of novice interpreter applicants who would be selected to participate in the pilot sites. One commenter recommended removing the requirement for cohort participants to have a bachelor’s degree in any field or major (as required to sit for the National Interpreter Certification exam). The commenter proposed that cohort participants who do not have a bachelor’s degree could, instead, demonstrate equivalent knowledge and skills in ASL-English interpretation. Other commenters suggested that cohort participants include: (1) Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and who are preparing for the Certification of Deaf Interpreter (CDI) exam; (2) graduates of partner organizations preparing K–12 interpreters; and (3) graduates of baccalaureate degree programs who have not yet obtained program accreditation from the CCIE. One commenter stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and of ensuring recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-blind students, and children of deaf adults. Discussion: We agree that, to the extent possible, applicants must ensure diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and ensure recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-blind students, and children of deaf adults. While this was implied in the proposed priority, it was PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48339 not explicitly stated and to clarify this we are adding paragraph (b)(5) in the Training Activities section of the priority. We also agree that we need to clarify the required cohort participants. We intend for the Center to train interpreters with specific competencies that are necessary to effectively interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deafblind, including those who are VR consumers, in transition from school to post-school activities, postsecondary education, employment, and community settings. Therefore, graduates of partner organizations preparing K–12 interpreters are not appropriate to participate in the pilot. Eligible cohort participants may include deaf individuals, students in their final one or two semesters of completing their degree from a CCIE- or non-CCIE-accredited baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpreter program, recent graduates of CCIE- and non-CCIEaccredited baccalaureate degree ASLEnglish interpreter education programs, and working novice interpreters who intend to obtain national certification and interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind, including deaf consumers of the VR system. The recruitment and selection of cohort participants will be determined by the Center. Change: We have expanded the list of possible cohort participants by deleting the requirement for the cohort to comprise graduates from baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs who are preparing for, or have not passed, the National Interpreter Certification knowledge and performance exams and who intend to work as interpreters, which was in paragraph (b)(2) of the Training Activities section of the proposed priority. We have also expanded the list of possible cohort participants by adding paragraphs (b)(4) and (b)(5) under the Training Activities section. Under paragraph (b)(4), applicants must ensure cohort participants intend to obtain national certification and interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deafblind, including deaf consumers of the VR system. We have provided that eligible cohort participants may include deaf individuals, students in their final one or two semesters of completing their degree from a CCIE or non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree ASLEnglish interpreter program, recent graduates of CCIE and non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree ASLEnglish interpreter education programs, and working novice interpreters. Under E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 48340 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES paragraph (b)(5), applicants must, to the extent possible, ensure diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and ensure recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-blind students, and children of deaf adults. Comment: None. Discussion: Upon further review of paragraph (b) of the Training Activities section of the priority, we believe that we should clarify the requirements for recruiting and selecting cohort participants and align this paragraph with other revisions we are making to this section. Change: We have made several revisions to paragraph (b) of the Training Activities section of the priority. First, we have moved the requirement, in proposed paragraph (b)(2), that applicants provide a plan to ensure that at least one cohort is completed in each pilot site prior to the end of the project period into a new paragraph (b)(3). Second, we have moved a portion of paragraph (b)(3) into a new paragraph (b)(6) and added a provision requiring that applicants establish processes and procedures for recruitment and selection of cohort participants, including criteria to ensure cohort participants demonstrate the capability to successfully complete the program and obtain national certification. Third, we have added paragraph (b)(7) to require that applicants establish procedures to identify and provide technical assistance to cohort participants who may be ‘‘at risk’’ of dropping out of the program. Finally, we have added paragraph (b)(11) to provide that, upon award, all successful applicants must develop and effectively communicate to all cohort participants policies and procedures related to participation in the experiential learning program. Cost of Cohorts Comment: Some commenters disagreed with the proposed requirement that all activities must be offered at no cost to participants during the program. Commenters indicated that offering the experiential learning program at no cost does not allow buyin from participants who may drop the program at any time since there is no penalty for doing so. One commenter suggested a reasonable fee be required for cohort participants and that, upon successful completion of the program, the fee could be refunded to the participant. Discussion: We agree for the reasons commenters stated that it can be appropriate to charge reasonable fees and applicants may do so. Charging reasonable fees may not be appropriate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 in all circumstances, however. Some cohort participants may be fully capable of completing the program and attaining national certification but may not be in a position to pay even reasonable fees, and we would not want to exclude them from participating. Therefore, we encourage applicants that choose to charge reasonable fees to consider a process for waiving these fees on a caseby-case basis. If an applicant chooses to charge reasonable fees, it must describe in the application how this fee will be determined. If successful, upon award, the applicant must develop internal policies and procedures for collecting and effectively managing these fees. Any fees retained as a result of a participant dropping out are considered program income. Therefore, applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.307 for applicable regulations for program income. Change: In paragraph (a)(1) of the Training Activities section of the priority, we have removed the proposed requirement that all activities must be offered at no cost to participants during the program. We have added paragraph (b)(10) to provide that applicants may choose to charge reasonable fees to cohort participants but must describe in their application how these fees will be determined. In addition, we have provided that, upon award, applicants must develop internal policies and procedures for collecting and effectively managing these fees, and for waiving these fees for a cohort participant if there is a financial hardship. Any fees retained as a result of a participant dropping out are considered program income. Number of Cohorts Comment: Several commenters recommended a specific number of cohorts and a number of novice interpreters per cohort. Generally, commenters supported cohorts of 8 to 12 novice interpreters based on the Conference of Interpreter Trainers’ recommended classroom size for interpreter education classes. One commenter recommended following CCIE guidelines of up to 12 in a cohort. Other commenters suggested 3 to 4 cohorts with anywhere from 8 to 12 novice interpreters. One commenter indicated that class sizes need to be on the smaller side so that students can get more personalized and in-depth attention. Another commenter recommended the Department should not require a certain number of novice interpreters per cohort since this number could vary greatly among each program. However, the commenter PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 suggested the Department could require the applicant to establish guidelines basing the number of interpreters in each cohort on the applicant’s program size. Discussion: We agree that the number of novice interpreters per cohort may vary depending on the pilot site. We also agree that novice interpreters will require personalized and in-depth attention. We revised the priority to allow applicants to provide a plan in their application for how they will determine the number of cohorts for each pilot site and the number of participants in each cohort upon award. Applicants should plan accordingly for all cohorts to complete the training program before the end of the project in order to evaluate and report on outcomes of each cohort in each pilot site. Change: In paragraph (b)(2) of the Training Activities section of the priority, we have added the option for applicants to provide a plan for how they will determine the number of cohorts for each pilot site and the number of participants in each cohort upon award, rather than requiring that all applicants make this determination in the application. General Comments Comment: A couple of commenters suggested participants in the cohort should receive college credit or continuing education units for participation in an effort to elevate interest and recruitment into the program. Discussion: We anticipate a number of cohort participants will be students in their final semester of completing their baccalaureate degree English-ASL program and, therefore, may not benefit from additional college credit. However, nothing in the priority prevents applicants from proposing to award college credits or continuing education units to participants. Should they choose to award such credits, applicants are expected in their application to describe their plans to do so. Change: We have added paragraph (b)(8) in the Training Activities section of this priority to clarify that applicants may determine whether to award college credits or continuing education units to cohort participants, as appropriate, and to require applicants to describe any plans for awarding college credits or continuation education units in their application. Comment: One commenter recommended an invitational priority or competitive preference for novice applicants. E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Discussion: A novice applicant priority already exists under 34 CFR 77.225, so it is not necessary to establish one in this NFP. If we use the novice priority in a competition, we will provide notification in the applicable notice inviting application published in the Federal Register. Change: None. Comment: Two commenters recommended the priority support two additional areas to address unmet needs in the field. The first commenter indicated that research has provided a snapshot into the unmet needs of deaf or hard of hearing individuals and individuals who are deaf-blind, and, therefore, recommended we include a robust needs assessment (which was part of the 2010 interpreter training grants) within this priority. The second commenter recommended that we require grantees to undertake the research necessary to develop a psychometrically valid instrument because, they stated, no domain-specific instrument exists yet in the sign language interpreting field for evaluating intercultural competency. Discussion: These activities are outside the purpose and intent of this priority. Change: None. Comment: While the majority of comments support the goals and intent of the proposed priority, five commenters recommended maintaining the current national and regional interpreter education centers. Discussion: We do not believe maintaining the current structure of national and regional interpreter education centers is in the best interest of the field. The Department has funded interpreter training programs since 1964 to meet the needs of VR consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. At each critical juncture, we have re-evaluated the interpreter training program to determine how to best meet the needs of consumers of interpreting services. In the course of this ongoing re-evaluation, we concluded that, since 2005, when the current priorities were established for the national and regional centers, the training needs of interpreters have changed as a result of new and emerging issues facing VR consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. The Department gave serious consideration to how we could continue to effectively use our funds to influence the field of interpreter education and ultimately meet the current and future needs of VR consumers. As we noted in the background section in the NPP, we believe the need VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 for interpreting services continues to exceed the available supply of qualified interpreters. Interpreters must be qualified to work with both individuals with a range of linguistic competencies from a variety of cultural backgrounds and individuals with disabilities. Interpreters need additional education, training, and experience in order to meet certification standards, to bridge the graduation-to-credential gap, and to gain sufficient skills to interpret effectively. Therefore, we believe establishing a Model Demonstration Center will better prepare novice interpreters to become nationally certified sign language interpreters in order to meet the needs of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. Change: None. Comment: Several commenters offered additional strategies beyond the required logic model and project evaluation to ensure that grantees are evaluating their programs throughout planning, designing, and implementing the experiential learning curriculum. For example, commenters suggested that applicants could supplement or strengthen their evaluation using secondary sources such as research and investigative books, journal articles, and dissertations, and use national certifications such as the BEI or EIPA, portfolios, consumer endorsement, and other relevant methods of design. Discussion: We acknowledge there are other potential strategies that could be used to ensure a program evaluation framework includes the planning, designing, and implementing of the experiential learning curriculum. Applicants may propose unique or additional strategies beyond the required logic model and program evaluation. Applicants should provide rationale in their application to support these additional strategies. Change: None. FINAL PRIORITY: This notice contains one final priority. Experiential Learning Model Demonstration Center for Novice Interpreters and Baccalaureate Degree ASL-English Interpretation Programs. Final Priority: The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement for the establishment of a model demonstration center (Center) to: (1) Develop an experiential learning program that could be implemented through baccalaureate degree ASL-English programs or through partner organizations, such as community-based organizations, advocacy organizations, or commissions for the deaf or deaf-blind that work with PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48341 baccalaureate degree ASL-English programs to provide work experiences and mentoring; (2) pilot the experiential learning program in three baccalaureate degree ASL-English programs and evaluate the results; and (3) disseminate practices that are promising or supported by evidence, examples, and lessons learned. The Center must prepare novice interpreters to work in VR settings and be designed to achieve, at a minimum, the following outcomes: (a) Increase the number of certified interpreters. (b) Reduce the average length of time it takes for novice interpreters to become nationally certified after graduating from baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs; and (c) Increase the average number of hours that novice interpreters, through the experiential learning program, interact with and learn from the local deaf community. Project Activities To meet the requirements of this priority, the Center must, at a minimum, conduct the following activities: Establish a consortium (a) The applicant must establish a consortium of training and technical assistance (TA) providers or use an existing network of providers to design and implement a model experiential learning program. An eligible consortium must be comprised of a designated lead applicant that operates a baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation program that is recognized and accredited by CCIE or that operates both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in interpreter education that are recognized and accredited by CCIE; and (b) Members of the consortium must be staffed by or have access to experienced and certified interpreters, interpreter educators, individuals who are deaf, trained mentors, and first language models in ASL. The consortium must also represent members with diverse linguistic and cultural minority backgrounds who are qualified to provide instruction on best practices in interpreting in diverse cultural and linguistic settings. All consortium members must demonstrate the capability to provide training, mentoring, and feedback in person or remotely to novice interpreters who are geographically dispersed across the country, including the territories. E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 48342 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Training Activities (a) In years one and two, design and implement an experiential learning program that is based upon promising and best practices or modules in the preparation of novice interpreters to become certified interpreters. The program design must, at a minimum: (1) Include a team that comprises native language users, qualified professionals, and trained mentors to partner with novice interpreters during and after successful completion of the experiential learning program. Applicants must describe in their application the roles and responsibilities for each team member. Roles for team members must include but are not limited to: (i) Native language users who will serve as language models; (ii) Qualified professionals who will act in an advisory role by observing, providing feedback, and discussing the novice interpreter’s ability to accurately interpret spoken English into ASL and ASL into spoken English in a variety of situations for a range of consumers; and (iii) Provide mentoring to novice interpreters, as needed. This may include one-on-one instruction to address specific areas identified by the advisor as needing further practice, as well as offering tools, resources, and guidance to novice interpreters to prepare them for potential challenges they may encounter as they grow and advance in the profession. One-on-one instruction may address, but is not limited to, meaning transfer (e.g., accurately providing an equivalent message, appropriately handling register), ethical behavior, meeting the consumer’s linguistic preference, managing the flow of information (e.g., pace, density, turn-taking), and other related aspects of the interpreting task. (2) Provide multiple learning opportunities, such as an internship with a community program, mentoring, and intensive site-specific work. Intensive site-specific work may task a novice interpreter, under close direction from the advisor interpreter, with providing interpreting services to deaf individuals employed at a work site, or to deaf students taking courses at college or enrolled in an apprenticeship program. Other learning modalities may be proposed and must include adequate justification. (3) Emphasize innovative instructional delivery methods, such as distance learning or block scheduling (i.e., a type of academic scheduling that offers students fewer classes per day for longer periods of time) that would allow novice interpreters to more easily VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 participate in the program (i.e., participants who need to work while in the program, have child care or elder care considerations, or live in geographically isolated areas); (4) Provide experiential learning that engages novice interpreters with different learning styles; (5) Provide interpreting experiences with a variety of deaf consumers who have different linguistic and communication needs and preferences, and are located in different settings, including VR settings (e.g., VR counseling, assessments, job-related services, training, pre-employment transition services, transition services, post-employment services, etc.), American Job Centers, and other relevant workforce partner locations; (6) Require novice interpreters to observe, discuss, and reflect on the work of the advisor interpreter; (7) Require novice interpreters to interpret in increasingly more complex and demanding situations. The advisor interpreter must provide written and oral feedback that includes strengths and areas of improvement, as well as a discussion with the novice interpreter about interpretation options, ethical behavior, and how best to meet the communication needs of a particular consumer; and (b) Pilot the experiential learning program in a single site by year two and expand to additional sites beginning in year three. Applicants must: (1) Identify at least three existing baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs to host the pilot sites. The baccalaureate programs must use a curriculum design that is based upon current best practices in the ASLEnglish Interpreter Education profession. Applicants may identify the pilot sites in the application or describe the process and criteria they will use to identify the pilot sites upon award; (2) Indicate in the application the number of cohorts for each pilot site and the number of participants in each cohort or provide a plan in the application for how this will be determined upon award; (3) Provide a plan in the application to ensure that at least one cohort is completed in each pilot site prior to the end of the project period; (4) Ensure cohort participants intend to obtain national certification and interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deafblind, including deaf consumers of the VR system. Cohort participants may include deaf individuals, students within one or two semesters of completing their interpreter education program, recent graduates of interpreter PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 education programs, and working novice interpreters; (5) To the extent possible, ensure diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and ensure recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-blind students, and children of deaf adults; (6) Establish processes and procedures for recruitment and selection of cohort participants, including criteria to ensure cohort participants demonstrate the capability to successfully complete the program and obtain national certification. This may include, but is not limited to, submission of an application, relevant assessments, interviewing prospective participants, and obtaining recommendations from faculty at baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs and other appropriate entities; (7) Establish procedures to identify and provide technical assistance to cohort participants who may be ‘‘at risk’’ of dropping out of the program; (8) Determine if college credits or continuing education units will be awarded to cohort participants, as appropriate. Should applicants choose to do so, they must describe any plans for awarding college credits or continuation education units in their application; (9) Describe any assessment tools that will be used to gauge the progress of novice interpreters. Any proposed instruments must be valid and reliable and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use of each instrument; (10) Describe in their application how any reasonable fees that the applicant proposes to charge cohort participants will be determined. If successful, upon award, applicants must develop internal policies and procedures for collecting and effectively managing these fees, as well for waiving fees for a cohort participant if there is a financial hardship. Any fees retained as a result of a participant dropping out are considered program income. Therefore, applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.307 for applicable regulations for program income; and (11) Develop and effectively communicate to all cohort participants the policies and procedures related to participation in the experiential learning program. (c) Conduct a formative and summative evaluation. Any proposed instruments must be valid and reliable and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use of each instrument. At a minimum, this must include: (1) An assessment of participant outcomes from each cohort that E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations includes, at a minimum, level of knowledge and practical skill levels using pre- and post-assessments; feedback from novice interpreters, from interpreter advisors, including written feedback from observed interpreting situations, from deaf consumers, from trained mentors, including written feedback from mentoring sessions, and from others, as appropriate; (2) Clear and specific measureable outcomes that include, but are not limited to: (i) Improvement in specific linguistic competencies, as identified by the applicant, in English and ASL; (ii) Improvement in specific competencies, as identified by the applicant, in ASL-English interpretation; (iii) Outcomes in achieving national certification; and (iv) The length of time for novice interpreters to become nationally certified sign language interpreters after participating in this project compared to the national average of 19–24 months. Technical Assistance and Dissemination Activities Conduct TA and dissemination activities that must include: (a) Preparing and broadly disseminating TA materials related to practices that are promising or supported by evidence and successful strategies for working with novice interpreters; (b) Establishing and maintaining a state-of-the-art information technology (IT) platform sufficient to support Webinars, teleconferences, video conferences, and other virtual methods of dissemination of information and TA. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Note: All products produced by the Center must meet government- and industryrecognized standards for accessibility, including section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. (c) Developing and maintaining a state-of-the-art archiving and dissemination system that— (1) Provides a central location for later use of TA products, including curricula, audiovisual materials, Webinars, examples of practices that are promising or supported by evidence, and any other relevant TA products; and (2) Is open and available to the public. (d) Providing a minimum of two Webinars or video conferences over the course of the project to describe and disseminate information to the field about results, challenges, solutions, and practices that are promising or supported by evidence. Note: In meeting the requirements for paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Center either may develop new platforms or systems or may modify existing platforms or systems, so long as the requirements of this priority are met. Coordination Activities (a) Establish an advisory committee. To effectively implement the Training Activities section of this priority, the applicant must establish an advisory committee that meets at least semiannually. The advisory committee must include representation from all affected stakeholder groups (i.e., interpreters, interpreter training programs, deaf individuals, and VR agencies) and may include other relevant groups. The advisory committee will advise on the strategies for establishing sites to pilot the experiential learning program, the approaches to the experiential learning program, modifications to experiential learning activities, TA, sustainability planning, and evaluating the effectiveness of the program, as well as other relevant areas as determined by the consortium. (b) Establish one or more communities of practice 3 that focus on project activities in this priority and that act as vehicles for communication and exchange of information among participants in the experiential learning program, as well as other relevant stakeholders; (c) Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate, on an ongoing basis, with other relevant Department-funded projects, as applicable; and (d) Maintain ongoing communication with the RSA project officer and other RSA staff as required. Application Requirements To be funded under this priority, applicants must meet the application requirements in this priority. RSA encourages innovative approaches to meet the following requirements: (a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Significance of the Project,’’ how the proposed project will address the need for nationally certified sign language interpreters. To meet this requirement, the applicant must: (1) Demonstrate knowledge of English/ASL competencies that novice interpreters must possess in order to enter and to complete an experiential 3 A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who work together to solve a persistent problem or to improve practice in an area that is important to them and who deepen their knowledge and expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis. CoPs exist in many forms, some large in scale that deal with complex problems, others small in scale that focus on a problem at a very specific level. For more information on communities of practice, see: www.tadnet.org/pages/510. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48343 learning program and, at the end of the program, to successfully obtain national certification; (2) Demonstrate knowledge of practices that are promising or supported by evidence in training novice interpreters; and (3) Demonstrate knowledge of practices that are promising or supported by evidence in providing experiential learning. (b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of Project Services,’’ how the proposed project will— (1) Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that have historically been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability in accessing postsecondary education and training; (2) Identify the needs of intended recipients of training; and (3) Ensure that project activities and products meet the needs of the intended recipients by creating materials in formats and languages that are accessible; (4) Achieve its goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. To meet this requirement, the applicant must identify and provide— (i) Measurable intended project outcomes; (ii) Evidence of an existing Memorandum of Understanding or a Letter of Intent between the lead applicant, members of the consortium, other proposed training and TA providers, and other relevant partners to establish a consortium that includes a description of each proposed partner’s anticipated commitment of financial or in-kind resources (if any), how each proposed provider’s current and proposed activities align with those of the proposed project, how each proposed provider will be held accountable under the proposed structure, and evidence to demonstrate a working relationship between the applicant and its proposed partners and key stakeholders and other relevant groups; and (iii) A plan for communicating, collaborating, and coordinating with an advisory committee; key staff in State VR agencies, such as State Coordinators for the Deaf; State and local partner programs; Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.; RSA partners, such as the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation and the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind; and relevant programs within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). (3) Use a conceptual framework to design experiential learning activities, E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 48344 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations describing any underlying concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, or theories, as well as the presumed relationships or linkages among these variables and any empirical support for this framework. (4) Be based on current research and make use of practices that are promising or supported by evidence. To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe— (i) How the current research about adult learning principles and implementation science will inform the proposed TA; and (ii) How the proposed project will incorporate current research and practices that are promising or supported by evidence in the development and delivery of its products and services. (5) Develop products and provide services that are of high quality and sufficient intensity and duration to achieve the intended outcomes of the proposed project. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe its proposed activities to identify or develop the knowledge base for practices that are promising or supported by evidence in experiential learning for novice interpreters. (6) Develop products and implement services to maximize the project’s efficiency. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe— (i) How the proposed project will use technology to achieve the intended project outcomes; and (ii) With whom the proposed project will collaborate and the intended outcomes of this collaboration. (c) In the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of the Evaluation Plan,’’ include an evaluation plan for the project. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe— (1) Evaluation methodologies, including instruments, data collection methods, and analyses that will be used to evaluate the project. Any proposed instruments must be valid and reliable, and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use of each instrument; (2) Measures of progress in implementation, including the extent to which the project’s activities and products have reached their target populations; intended outcomes or results of the project’s activities in order to evaluate those activities; and how well the goals and objectives of the proposed project, as described in its logic model,4 have been met; 4 A logic model communicates how the project will achieve its intended outcomes and provides a framework for both the formative and summative evaluations of the project. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 (3) How the evaluation plan will be implemented and revised, as needed, during the project. The applicant must designate at least one individual with sufficient dedicated time, experience in evaluation, and knowledge of the project to support the design and implementation of the evaluation. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, coordinating with the advisory committee and RSA to revise the logic model to provide for a more comprehensive measurement of implementation and outcomes, to reflect any changes or clarifications to the logic model discussed at the kick-off meeting, and to revise the evaluation design and instrumentation proposed in the grant application consistent with the logic model (e.g., developing quantitative or qualitative data collections that permit both the collection of progress data and the assessment of project outcomes); (4) The standards and targets for determining effectiveness; (5) How evaluation results will be used to examine the effectiveness of implementation and progress toward achieving the intended outcomes; and (6) How the methods of evaluation will produce quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate whether the project activities achieved their intended outcomes. (d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Adequacy of Project Resources,’’ how— (1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have historically been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability, as appropriate; (2) The proposed key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors have the qualifications and experience to provide experiential learning to novice interpreters and to achieve the project’s intended outcomes; (3) The applicant and any key partners have adequate resources to carry out the proposed activities; and (4) The proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the anticipated results and benefits. (e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of the Management Plan,’’ how— (1) The proposed management plan will ensure that the project’s intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe— PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (i) Clearly defined responsibilities for key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable; and (ii) Timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks; (2) Key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors allocated to the project and how these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the project’s intended outcomes, including an assurance that such personnel will have adequate availability to ensure timely communications with stakeholders and RSA; (3) The proposed management plan will ensure that the products and services provided are of high quality; and (4) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of perspectives, including the advisory committee, as well as other relevant groups in its development and operation. (f) Address the following application requirements. The applicant must— (1) Include, in Appendix A, a logic model that depicts, at a minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and intended outcomes of the proposed project; (2) Include, in Appendix A, a Memorandum of Understanding or a Letter of Intent between the lead applicant, members of the consortium, other proposed training and TA providers, and other relevant partners; (3) Include, in Appendix A, a conceptual framework for the project; (4) Include, in Appendix A, personloading charts and timelines as applicable, to illustrate the management plan described in the narrative; (5) Include, in the budget, attendance at the following: (i) A one and one-half day kick-off meeting in Washington, DC, after receipt of the award; (ii) An annual planning meeting in Washington, DC, with the RSA project officer and other relevant RSA staff during each subsequent year of the project period; and (iii) A one-day intensive review meeting in Washington, DC, during the third quarter of the third year of the project period. Types of Priorities: When inviting applications for a competition using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority follows: Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)). Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)). Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements. Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, the Department provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps ensure that: The public understands the Department’s collection instructions, respondents can provide the requested data in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the Department can properly assess the impact of collection requirements on respondents. This final priority contains information collection requirements that are approved by OMB under the National Interpreter Education program 1820–0018; this final priority does not affect the currently approved data collection. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this regulatory action is ‘‘significant’’ and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive Order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as an action likely to result in a rule that may— (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an ‘‘economically significant’’ rule); (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles stated in the Executive order. This final regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency— (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify); (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations; (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity); (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices. Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ‘‘to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.’’ The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include ‘‘identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48345 innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.’’ We are issuing this final priority only on a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563. We also have determined that this regulatory action does not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions. In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering the Department’s programs and activities. Through this priority, experiential learning and TA will be provided to novice interpreters in order for them to achieve national certification. These activities will help interpreters to more effectively meet the communication needs of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. The training ultimately will improve the quality of VR services and the competitive integrated employment outcomes achieved by individuals with disabilities. This priority will promote the efficient and effective use of Federal funds. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site, you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1 48346 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 142 / Monday, July 25, 2016 / Rules and Regulations (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department. Dated: July 19, 2016. Sue Swenson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 2016–17404 Filed 7–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R09–OAR–2016–0105; FRL–9947–69– Region 9] Limited Approval, Limited Disapproval of California Air Plan Revisions, Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a limited approval and limited disapproval of revisions to the Eastern Kern Air SUMMARY: Pollution Control District (EKAPCD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions concern volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted from motor vehicle and mobile equipment refinishing operations. Under the authority of the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act), this action simultaneously approves a local rule that regulates these emission sources and directs California to correct rule deficiencies. DATES: This rule will be effective on August 24, 2016. ADDRESSES: EPA has established docket number EPA–R09–OAR–2016–0105 for this action. Generally, documents in the docket for this action are available electronically at http:// www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105–3901. While all documents in the docket are listed at http://www.regulations.gov, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps, multi-volume reports), and some may not be available in either location (e.g., confidential business information (CBI)). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Arnold Lazarus, EPA Region IX, (415) 972–3024, lazarus.arnold@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document, ‘‘we,’’ ‘‘us’’ and ‘‘our’’ refer to the EPA. Table of Contents I. Proposed Action II. Public Comments and EPA Responses III. EPA Action IV. Incorporation by Reference V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism F. Executive Order 13175: Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Population I. Proposed Action On April 15, 2016 (81 FR 22204), the EPA proposed a limited approval and limited disapproval of the following rule that was submitted for incorporation into the California SIP. TABLE 1—SUBMITTED RULE Rule No. Rule title Amended Submitted EKAPCD ................................. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Local agency 410.4A Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Refinishing Operations 03/13/14 07/25/14 We proposed a limited approval because we determined that this rule improves the SIP and is largely consistent with the relevant CAA requirements. We simultaneously proposed a limited disapproval because some rule provisions conflict with section 110 and part D of the Act. These provisions include the following: • Paragraph VI(A), ‘‘VOC Content Limits,’’ provides VOC limits for cavity wax, deadener, gasket/gasket sealing material, lubricating wax/compounds and trunk interior coatings. However, in conflict with long-standing guidance on enforceability such as discussed in the Bluebook, these terms are not defined in the rule.1 1 See ‘‘Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations,’’ (a.k.a., Bluebook) EPA OAQPS, May 25, 1988. P2–7. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Jul 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Our proposed action contains more information on the basis for this rulemaking and on our evaluation of the submittal. II. Public Comments and EPA Responses The EPA’s proposed action provided a 30-day public comment period. During this period we received no comments. III. EPA Action No comments were submitted that change our assessment of the rule as described in our proposed action. Therefore, as authorized in sections 110(k)(3) and 301(a) of the Act, the EPA is finalizing a limited approval of the submitted rule. This action incorporates the submitted rule into the California SIP, including those provisions identified as deficient. As authorized PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 under section 110(k)(3) and 301(a), the EPA is simultaneously finalizing a limited disapproval of the rule. This final limited disapproval does not trigger sanctions or a federal implementation plan (FIP) clock. Sanctions will not be imposed under CAA 179(b) because the submittal of Rule 410.4A is discretionary (i.e., not required to be included in the SIP), and EPA will not promulgate a FIP in this instance under CAA 110(c)(1) because the disapproval does not reveal a deficiency in the SIP for the area that such a FIP must correct. Specifically, there is no EPA control techniques guidelines (CTG) for Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Refinishing Operations and, according to CARB’s Facility Search Engine, there are no facilities that emit VOC in the EKAPCD for this category for the most recent E:\FR\FM\25JYR1.SGM 25JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 142 (Monday, July 25, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48335-48346]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-17404]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III

[Docket ID ED-2016-OSERS-0005; CFDA Number: 84.160C.]


Final Priority--Training of Interpreters for Individuals Who Are 
Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind Program

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Final priority.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a final priority under the Training 
of Interpreters for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and 
Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind program. The Assistant Secretary may use 
this priority for competitions in fiscal year 2016 and later years. We 
take this action to provide training and technical assistance to better 
prepare novice interpreters to become highly qualified nationally 
certified sign language interpreters.

DATES: This priority is effective August 24, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristen Rhinehart-Fernandez, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5062, Potomac 
Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2800. Telephone: (202) 245-
6103 or by email: Kristen.Rhinehart@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Purpose of Program: Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 
(Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and 
Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Rehabilitation Services Administration 
(RSA) makes grants to public and private nonprofit agencies and 
organizations, including institutions of higher education, to establish 
interpreter training programs or to provide financial assistance for 
ongoing interpreter training programs to train a sufficient number of 
qualified interpreters throughout the country. The grants are designed 
to train interpreters to effectively interpret and transliterate using 
spoken, visual, and tactile modes of communication; ensure the 
maintenance of the interpreting skills of qualified interpreters; and 
provide opportunities for interpreters to improve their skills in order 
to meet both the highest standards approved by certifying associations 
and the communication needs of individuals who are deaf or hard of 
hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772(f).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 396.
    We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for this 
competition in the Federal Register on April 7, 2016 (81 FR 20268). 
That notice contained background information and our reasons for 
proposing the particular priority.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 26 
parties submitted comments on the proposed priority. Generally, we do 
not address technical and other minor changes, or suggested changes the 
law does not authorize us to make under the applicable statutory 
authority. In addition, we do not address general comments that raised 
concerns not directly related to the proposed priority.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priority since publication of the NPP follows.

State-Level Certification or Licensure

    Comment: A few commenters suggested broadening the proposed 
outcomes for the Experiential Learning Model Demonstration Center 
(Center) beyond national certification to include State-level 
certification or licensure. These commenters noted that, in some 
States, the State certification system is used to prepare interpreters 
for advancement to national-level certification. Other States use the 
Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) and the Board for 
Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) for certification or licensure to 
offer interpreting services within the State. Finally, one commenter 
stated that acknowledging the variability in State-

[[Page 48336]]

to-State licensure and certification requirements is essential in 
meeting the goal of novice interpreters in the experiential learning 
program achieving national certification.
    Discussion: One goal of this program is to increase the number and 
quality of nationally certified interpreters. We do not agree that 
modification of the proposed outcomes to include State-level 
certification or licensure is appropriate for the Center.
    First, designating national certification as a desired outcome for 
novice interpreters in the experiential learning program will ensure 
consistency in the training of these interpreters, as well as the 
competencies these interpreters will possess by the end of the training 
period. This will also ensure that novice interpreters will effectively 
meet the evolving needs of youth and adults in the United States who 
are deaf and hard of hearing or are deaf-blind, including those who are 
consumers of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system.
    Second, there is limited information available on the reliability 
and validity of assessments used by States to confer certifications and 
licensures. For example, in some cases, an individual pays a fee to 
receive a license to work as an interpreter in a State, regardless of 
skill or competency. In other cases, assessments, such as the BEI, are 
State specific, and there is no information about how the specific 
levels of skills and competencies they assess compare with the level of 
skills and competencies required to pass other State-level licensure 
tests, let alone the national interpreter certification exam. 
Conversely, national certification assessments have undergone 
psychometric evaluation to ensure consistency, reliability, and 
validity of results.
    Finally, the EIPA does not apply to the training we intend to be 
offered by the Center. The EIPA focuses on interpreting competencies 
that are necessary to effectively interpret in elementary and secondary 
general education settings. We intend for the Center to train 
interpreters with specific competencies that are necessary to 
effectively interpret for youth and adults who are deaf \1\ or hard of 
hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind, including those who are VR 
consumers in transition from school to post-school activities in 
postsecondary education, employment, and community settings. None of 
this, however, prohibits applicants from using State certification or 
licensure as an internal benchmark, if applicable, for tracking 
participant progress towards achieving national certification.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\As used in this notice, the word ``deaf'' refers to (1) 
``deaf'' and ``Deaf'' people, i.e. to the condition of deafness; (2) 
to ``deaf, hard of hearing, and Deaf-Blind''; and (3) to individuals 
who are culturally Deaf and who use American Sign Language (ASL). 
When we use ``Deaf,'' we refer only to the third group.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Change: None.

Prospective Applicants

    Comment: Many commenters addressed the proposed requirement that 
the lead applicant must be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate 
Interpreter Education (CCIE). Many commenters recommended removing this 
requirement because (1) CCIE accreditation is voluntary, (2) CCIE is 
not accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation 
(CHEA), which is the body that accredits and sets standards for 
organizations that review and accredit higher education programs, and 
(3) attending a CCIE accredited interpreter education program is not a 
requirement for becoming a credentialed interpreter.
    Several other commenters were concerned that the requirement would 
limit the pool of eligible applicants because only about one-third of 
44 baccalaureate interpreting programs nationwide are CCIE accredited. 
In addition, there are five CCIE accredited associate of the arts (AA) 
degree interpreting programs.
    A few commenters stated that the proposed requirement would mean 
that programs on the path to accreditation, private entities that do 
not possess or have such accreditation available to them, and non-CCIE 
accredited programs offering rigorous, high-quality instruction in 
American Sign Language (ASL)-English interpretation would not be 
eligible to serve as a lead applicant.
    Several commenters stated that CCIE accreditation standards do not 
include several areas that are significant to the proposed priority, 
including accessibility of, access to, interaction with, and immersion 
in the Deaf community; having an available Deaf population to promote 
student training; and standards such as ASL fluency.
    One commenter estimated the cost of accreditation from CCIE at 
$10,000 or more and noted that some organizations are not in a position 
to support CCIE-related costs at this time.
    Finally, one commenter suggested that CCIE accreditation be 
considered as a secondary qualification, rather than a requirement for 
the lead applicant.
    Discussion: We believe the proposed requirement for the lead 
applicant to be accredited by CCIE aligns with the goal of the Center 
to improve the quality of interpreters nationwide and therefore should 
be maintained in the priority.
    While we recognize CCIE is not accredited by CHEA, we do not 
believe this will adversely impact the lead applicant's ability to 
effectively design and implement this Center because each accreditation 
has a different purpose. CHEA focuses on the quality of higher 
education institutions and programs in order for the public to know 
that an institution or program provides an overall quality education.
    By contrast, the mission of CCIE is focused specifically on 
professionalism in the field of interpreter education through the 
accreditation of professional preparation programs, the development and 
revision of interpreter education standards, the encouragement of 
excellence in program development, a national and international 
dialogue on the preservation and advancement of standards in the field 
of interpreter and higher education, and the application of knowledge, 
skills, and ethics of the profession. There are currently 13 CCIE-
accredited programs \2\ across the country that would meet the lead 
applicant requirement for this competition. At present, CCIE is the 
only entity in the field of interpreter education that measures the 
standards of interpreter education programs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ www.discoverinterpreting.com/?Find_an_ASL-English_Interpreting_program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We recognize that these standards are the minimum requirements for 
CCIE accreditation and a program may exceed these standards in many 
areas, including those indicated by the comments. One of the goals of 
the Center is to increase accessibility of and access to interaction 
and immersion in the Deaf community, having an available Deaf 
population to promote student training, and standards such as ASL 
fluency. As such, we believe the requirements in the priority support 
this goal.
    We acknowledge that CCIE accreditation is voluntary and that 
attending a CCIE-accredited interpreter education program is not a 
requirement for becoming a credentialed interpreter. However, we 
believe that the interpreter education program should be accredited. 
The Center is then better positioned to incorporate interpreter 
education standards into the design and delivery of training and to 
evaluate its effectiveness in increasing the number of certified 
interpreters.
    While non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree English-ASL programs 
are not eligible as the lead applicant, they may serve as members of 
the consortium. We respect and value

[[Page 48337]]

non-CCIE accredited programs offering rigorous, high-quality 
interpreter education. We are also sensitive to budgetary and other 
constraints that may limit institutions pursuing CCIE accreditation. We 
encourage eligible lead applicants to consider a number of appropriate 
entities, including high-quality non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate 
degree interpreter education programs, to carry out the work of the 
consortium.
    Change: None.

Consideration of Other Eligible Applicants

    Comment: Some commenters suggested consideration of other eligible 
lead applicants or as members of the consortium such as AA programs, 
associate in applied sciences (AAS) programs, and master's degree 
interpreter education programs that prepare interpreter educators in 
addition to hosting baccalaureate degree programs that prepare students 
to work in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) settings upon 
graduation.
    Discussion: The proposed priority did not specify that programs 
offering both a bachelor's and master's degree in interpreter education 
could serve as lead applicants if the program holds CCIE accreditation. 
We agree that these programs should be eligible lead applicants and may 
also serve as members of the consortium, and we are revising the 
priority accordingly.
    However, AA/AAS programs are not eligible lead applicants. Since 
July 2012, there has been an educational requirement for an individual 
to sit for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf National 
Interpreter Certification test. Specifically, candidates must possess, 
at a minimum, a bachelor's degree in any field or major, or a 
demonstrated educational equivalency. We want to ensure that, while the 
individuals served by the Center require additional skills training to 
be provided by the Center, they otherwise meet the requirements to sit 
for the National Certification examination.
    Programs that prepare students to work in K-12 settings are not 
eligible lead applicants or members of the consortium because the focus 
of this program is to prepare novice interpreters to work in VR 
settings. We believe this focus was implied in the background section 
of the priority but recognize it was not clearly stated within the 
proposed priority. Therefore, we take this opportunity to provide 
further explanation to support the focus of this program.
    The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes 
support to transition-age youth and adults with disabilities through 
such activities as funding various VR services and training of 
qualified personnel. The final priority aligns with the WIOA framework 
by focusing on the training of qualified interpreters to work with 
transition-age youth and adults who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-
blind. Thus, programs that prepare students to work in K-12 settings 
are not eligible applicants or members of the consortium because WIOA 
funds do not support training of interpreters to work in K-12 settings, 
with the exception of transition services.
    Change: Under the purpose of the priority, we have clarified that 
the Center must prepare novice interpreters to work in VR settings.
    In paragraph (a) under ``Establish a consortium'' in the Project 
Activities section of the priority, we have clarified that an eligible 
consortium can be comprised of a designated lead applicant that 
operates both bachelor's and master's degree programs in interpreter 
education that are recognized and accredited by CCIE.

Members of a Consortium

    Comment: A number of commenters asked that we clarify which 
entities must be represented in the consortium. One commenter 
recommended maintaining the proposed entities in order to gain the 
broadest analysis of effective models and practices possible.
    In addition, commenters also stated that the entities participating 
in the consortium should be required to include individuals who are 
experienced and qualified interpreters, interpreter educators, trained 
mentors, and individuals who are deaf, as well as those who can model 
native (first language) fluency in ASL. One commenter stated that the 
most successful experiential learning programs include coaching, 
mentoring, and explicit instruction that focuses specifically on the 
skills for interacting in diverse cultural milieus.
    Discussion: We agree that we need to clarify paragraph (b) under 
``Establish a consortium'' and the types of entities that must be 
represented in the consortium. When we stated in the proposed priority 
that ``members of the consortium must be staffed by or have access to 
experienced and certified interpreters, interpreter educators, and 
trained mentors with the capability in providing feedback and guidance 
to novice interpreters, and in serving as language models,'' we meant 
that members of the consortium must have on staff, or have access to, 
individuals who are deaf and who can model native (first language) 
fluency in ASL.
    Applicants are encouraged to include in their consortium other 
appropriate entities such as VR agencies, community-based 
organizations, and State commissions. Applicants could develop at least 
one partnership with a community-based entity (for example, with a 
Commission for the Deaf that is knowledgeable and involved in the 
delivery of interpreter services), at least one partnership with 
industry or government agencies (e.g., State VR agencies or American 
Job Centers) and at least one partnership with post-secondary settings 
(e.g., universities that serve a large number of deaf and hard of 
hearing students). Each of these partnerships would yield different 
types of learning and coaching contexts and allow for dynamic 
application of new ideas and structures for possible replication. In 
addition, non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree English-ASL programs 
may serve as members of the consortium.
    We agree that training for novice interpreters must include skills 
for interacting in diverse cultural milieus and, as such, members of 
the consortium must represent diverse linguistic and cultural minority 
backgrounds and be qualified to provide instruction on best practices 
for interpreting in diverse cultural and linguistic settings.
    Change: In paragraph (b) under ``Establish a consortium'' in the 
Project Activities section of the priority, we clarified that members 
of the consortium must be staffed by or have access to experienced and 
certified interpreters, interpreter educators, individuals who are 
deaf, trained mentors, and first language models in ASL. We added that 
consortium members must represent diverse linguistic and cultural 
minority backgrounds and be qualified to provide instruction on best 
practices in interpreting in diverse cultural and linguistic settings.

Consortium Expectations in Terms of Cost Match

    Comment: One commenter asked whether consortium members or other 
identified partners must contribute to the cost of implementation, 
either through direct or indirect contributions.
    Discussion: The proposed priority did not address this question. 
The responsibility for costs associated with all aspects of the Center, 
such as program design, implementation, training activities, and 
evaluation, as well as oversight and management of the Center, will be 
determined and

[[Page 48338]]

agreed upon by the lead applicant, members of the consortium, and other 
identified partners. This also applies to determining any direct or 
indirect costs or in-kind contributions made by the lead applicant, 
members of the consortium, and other identified partners. The notice 
inviting applications will specify whether there is a cost-matching 
requirement and, if so, it will confirm the percentage of the match. 
Regardless of how the lead applicant, consortium members, and other 
identified partners determine shared costs, it is ultimately the 
responsibility of the lead applicant to meet the cost-matching 
requirement.
    Change: None.

Team Comprised of Native Language Users, Qualified Interpreters, and 
Trained Mentors

    Comment: We received several comments about the proposed 
requirement for the consortium to establish a team of native language 
users, qualified interpreters, and trained mentors to partner with 
novice interpreters during and after successful completion of the 
experiential learning program. Overall, commenters recommended 
maintaining separation of these positions but indicated a need for 
clear definitions, roles, responsibilities, and the training and 
qualifications necessary for each position within the team. Rather than 
the Department developing its own definitions, one commenter 
recommended the Department use applicable definitions developed by the 
Office of Personnel Management when defining the roles of these team 
members. Two commenters stated that native language users not only 
include deaf individuals but also those individuals who have grown up 
using the language and are fluent in it (e.g., children of deaf 
adults). In addition to serving as language models, native language 
users should provide mentorship in linguistic and cultural 
competencies. Another commenter suggested combining the roles of native 
language user and trained mentor.
    Discussion: We will not further specify who must be a member of the 
team to work with novice interpreters. We believe applicants are best 
suited to assemble an inclusive and appropriate team. Applicants may 
define team members and determine the roles, responsibilities, and 
qualifications of these positions. While we acknowledge that some roles 
among team members may be shared or combined, we expect, however, the 
team to include, at minimum, native language users, qualified 
interpreters, and trained mentors, as well as other appropriate 
members. By not requiring other specific team members, we will also 
avoid inadvertently excluding potential team members.
    The Department acknowledges there are interpreter-related 
definitions available through other Federal agencies. However, we want 
to ensure that any interpreter-related definitions are appropriate for 
the Center and align with the statute and regulations for this program.
    In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal 
Register on April 16, 2015 (80 FR 20988), we proposed to amend the 
definition of a ``qualified professional'' to mean an individual who 
has (1) met existing certification or evaluation requirements 
equivalent to the highest standards approved by certifying 
associations; and (2) successfully demonstrated interpreting skills 
that reflect the highest standards approved by certifying associations 
through prior work experience.'' The term ``qualified interpreter'' 
used throughout the proposed priority is synonymous with ``qualified 
professional.'' A notice of final rulemaking is anticipated to publish 
in late July.
    Change: We replaced the term ``qualified interpreter'' with 
``qualified professional'' for accuracy and consistency with our 
regulations. Under Training Activities, in paragraph (a)(1), we added 
that applicants must describe in their application the roles and 
responsibilities for each team member.

Project Timelines

    Comment: Commenters generally supported the proposed timeline to 
plan and design the curriculum, develop training modules, and to 
implement a pilot experiential learning program within the first two 
years of the grant period. However, one commenter cautioned that 
expecting students to become ready-to-work interpreters by attending a 
four-year program is unrealistic. Another commenter reasoned that a 
sustainable program needs two to three years to design, implement, 
evaluate, revise, and continue implementation with three to four 
graduated cohorts in order to generate evidence of impact.
    Discussion: We recognize that graduates from baccalaureate degree 
ASL-English interpreter training programs may not be immediately ready 
to work and that is why we are establishing a model demonstration 
center to better prepare novice interpreters to become nationally 
certified sign language interpreters. We also agree that adequate time 
is needed to analyze evidence and assess the program. One of the 
reasons for piloting the program in a single site by year two is to 
identify and resolve issues and challenges that may arise, as well as 
to make improvements to the content and delivery of the training based 
on feedback from the team working with the novice interpreters and the 
novice interpreters participating in the first pilot. This Center is a 
demonstration and, at the conclusion of the grant, we will assess 
program outcomes and determine whether or not an experiential learning 
approach had an impact in improving the preparation of novice 
interpreters. For these reasons, we believe the proposed timelines are 
reasonable.
    Change: None.

Project Activities

    Comment: Several commenters suggested that we include in the 
priority additional project activities that are associated with long-
term success for ASL-English interpreters. Some examples of additional 
project activities included: (1) Volunteer interpreting experiences 
pairing experienced interpreters who agree to volunteer with novice 
interpreters; (2) in-service training programs built around 
individualized skills development activities/modules determined after a 
comprehensive diagnostic assessment to increase novice practitioner 
performance; (3) scripted training exercises involving real-life 
scenarios with actors/mentors from the Deaf community; (4) curricular 
modifications and differentiation strategies to serve novice 
interpreters who are children of deaf adults (CODAs), particularly 
CODAs of color; (5) socialization with the Deaf community; and (6) 
field-based induction programs that employ more direct supervision of 
work experiences than is typically available through mentorship.
    Discussion: Applicants must meet the minimum proposed project 
activities and may add or incorporate other specific activities, 
including the activities described in the comments, as appropriate, in 
order to strengthen the design, curriculum, and training developed and 
delivered by the Center. We encourage applicants to include in their 
proposed project any additional activities that they believe would 
improve the preparation of novice interpreters.
    Change: None.

Measures for Assessing the Improvement in Interpreting Skills of Novice 
Interpreters

    Comment: Several commenters suggested that, to assess outcomes more

[[Page 48339]]

effectively and in a way that goes beyond self-reported 
``meaningfulness,'' we require in the priority the use of specific 
assessment tools to measure the improvement in interpreting skills of 
novice interpreters, such as diagnostic assessments/reviews; tools that 
address the proficiency of educational interpreters, such as the 
Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) developed by Boys 
Town National Research Hospital; assessments used by the American 
Council for Teaching Foreign Languages, Texas Board for Evaluators of 
Interpreters, and Utah Interpreting Program; pre- and post-program 
scores on the American Sign Language Proficiency Inventory; or general 
assessment instruments like the Cultural Intelligence Scale, 
Intercultural Development Inventory, or other well-reviewed measures of 
intercultural competence. One commenter stated that measurement of 
instruction in core dispositions of novice interpreters is needed 
because without instruction in and measurement of elements of essential 
professional attributes, a novice interpreter may become more of a 
``language technician'' but not a true mediator.
    Discussion: We acknowledge there are several assessment tools that 
may be appropriate to measure the improvement in interpreting skills of 
novice interpreters, and we believe that applicants are better 
positioned to determine which tools are most appropriate for their 
proposed projects. Nothing in this priority prevents applicants from 
choosing to use any valid or reliable assessment tool to gauge the 
progress of novice interpreters. Any proposed instruments must be valid 
and reliable and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use 
of each instrument.
    Change: We have added the requirements that any proposed 
instruments must be valid and reliable, and the applicant must submit 
rationale to support the use of each instrument, to paragraphs (b)(9) 
and (c) of the Training Activities section and paragraph (c)(1) in the 
Application Requirements section.

Pilot Sites

    Comment: A few commenters asked that we clarify which entities are 
eligible to be pilot sites. More specifically, one commenter noted that 
the proposed priority indicated in one place that a partner 
organization may be a pilot site, while providing in another place that 
the pilot site must be an existing baccalaureate degree ASL-English 
interpretation program.
    Discussion: We agree there was an inconsistency in the proposed 
priority. The pilot site entity must be hosted by a baccalaureate 
degree ASL-English program. This is essential to the priority because 
we believe these specific programs demonstrate the ability to 
effectively recruit and select cohort participants, as well as track 
and evaluate participants. However, to provide applicants with more 
flexibility, we also want to clarify that applicants may either 
identify eligible pilot sites in their application or describe the 
process and criteria they will use to identify eligible pilot sites 
upon award. We also clarify that partner organizations may serve as 
experiential learning sites.
    Changes: We have revised paragraph (b)(1) in the Training 
Activities section of the priority to require applicants to identify at 
least three existing baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation 
programs to host the pilot sites. We have also added to paragraph 
(b)(1) that applicants may describe the process and criteria they will 
use to identify the pilot sites upon award.

Cohort Participants

    Comment: Several commenters asked that the Department clarify the 
qualifications of novice interpreter applicants who would be selected 
to participate in the pilot sites. One commenter recommended removing 
the requirement for cohort participants to have a bachelor's degree in 
any field or major (as required to sit for the National Interpreter 
Certification exam). The commenter proposed that cohort participants 
who do not have a bachelor's degree could, instead, demonstrate 
equivalent knowledge and skills in ASL-English interpretation. Other 
commenters suggested that cohort participants include: (1) Individuals 
who are deaf or hard of hearing and who are preparing for the 
Certification of Deaf Interpreter (CDI) exam; (2) graduates of partner 
organizations preparing K-12 interpreters; and (3) graduates of 
baccalaureate degree programs who have not yet obtained program 
accreditation from the CCIE. One commenter stressed the importance of 
diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and of ensuring 
recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-
blind students, and children of deaf adults.
    Discussion: We agree that, to the extent possible, applicants must 
ensure diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and ensure 
recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-
blind students, and children of deaf adults. While this was implied in 
the proposed priority, it was not explicitly stated and to clarify this 
we are adding paragraph (b)(5) in the Training Activities section of 
the priority.
    We also agree that we need to clarify the required cohort 
participants. We intend for the Center to train interpreters with 
specific competencies that are necessary to effectively interpret for 
adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-
blind, including those who are VR consumers, in transition from school 
to post-school activities, postsecondary education, employment, and 
community settings. Therefore, graduates of partner organizations 
preparing K-12 interpreters are not appropriate to participate in the 
pilot.
    Eligible cohort participants may include deaf individuals, students 
in their final one or two semesters of completing their degree from a 
CCIE- or non-CCIE-accredited baccalaureate degree ASL-English 
interpreter program, recent graduates of CCIE- and non-CCIE-accredited 
baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpreter education programs, and 
working novice interpreters who intend to obtain national certification 
and interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and 
individuals who are deaf-blind, including deaf consumers of the VR 
system. The recruitment and selection of cohort participants will be 
determined by the Center.
    Change: We have expanded the list of possible cohort participants 
by deleting the requirement for the cohort to comprise graduates from 
baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs who are 
preparing for, or have not passed, the National Interpreter 
Certification knowledge and performance exams and who intend to work as 
interpreters, which was in paragraph (b)(2) of the Training Activities 
section of the proposed priority. We have also expanded the list of 
possible cohort participants by adding paragraphs (b)(4) and (b)(5) 
under the Training Activities section. Under paragraph (b)(4), 
applicants must ensure cohort participants intend to obtain national 
certification and interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing 
and individuals who are deaf-blind, including deaf consumers of the VR 
system. We have provided that eligible cohort participants may include 
deaf individuals, students in their final one or two semesters of 
completing their degree from a CCIE or non-CCIE accredited 
baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpreter program, recent graduates 
of CCIE and non-CCIE accredited baccalaureate degree ASL-English 
interpreter education programs, and working novice interpreters. Under

[[Page 48340]]

paragraph (b)(5), applicants must, to the extent possible, ensure 
diversity and inclusion among cohort participants and ensure 
recruitment of students of color, trilingual students, deaf and deaf-
blind students, and children of deaf adults.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: Upon further review of paragraph (b) of the Training 
Activities section of the priority, we believe that we should clarify 
the requirements for recruiting and selecting cohort participants and 
align this paragraph with other revisions we are making to this 
section.
    Change: We have made several revisions to paragraph (b) of the 
Training Activities section of the priority. First, we have moved the 
requirement, in proposed paragraph (b)(2), that applicants provide a 
plan to ensure that at least one cohort is completed in each pilot site 
prior to the end of the project period into a new paragraph (b)(3). 
Second, we have moved a portion of paragraph (b)(3) into a new 
paragraph (b)(6) and added a provision requiring that applicants 
establish processes and procedures for recruitment and selection of 
cohort participants, including criteria to ensure cohort participants 
demonstrate the capability to successfully complete the program and 
obtain national certification. Third, we have added paragraph (b)(7) to 
require that applicants establish procedures to identify and provide 
technical assistance to cohort participants who may be ``at risk'' of 
dropping out of the program. Finally, we have added paragraph (b)(11) 
to provide that, upon award, all successful applicants must develop and 
effectively communicate to all cohort participants policies and 
procedures related to participation in the experiential learning 
program.

Cost of Cohorts

    Comment: Some commenters disagreed with the proposed requirement 
that all activities must be offered at no cost to participants during 
the program. Commenters indicated that offering the experiential 
learning program at no cost does not allow buy-in from participants who 
may drop the program at any time since there is no penalty for doing 
so. One commenter suggested a reasonable fee be required for cohort 
participants and that, upon successful completion of the program, the 
fee could be refunded to the participant.
    Discussion: We agree for the reasons commenters stated that it can 
be appropriate to charge reasonable fees and applicants may do so. 
Charging reasonable fees may not be appropriate in all circumstances, 
however. Some cohort participants may be fully capable of completing 
the program and attaining national certification but may not be in a 
position to pay even reasonable fees, and we would not want to exclude 
them from participating. Therefore, we encourage applicants that choose 
to charge reasonable fees to consider a process for waiving these fees 
on a case-by-case basis.
    If an applicant chooses to charge reasonable fees, it must describe 
in the application how this fee will be determined. If successful, upon 
award, the applicant must develop internal policies and procedures for 
collecting and effectively managing these fees. Any fees retained as a 
result of a participant dropping out are considered program income. 
Therefore, applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.307 for applicable 
regulations for program income.
    Change: In paragraph (a)(1) of the Training Activities section of 
the priority, we have removed the proposed requirement that all 
activities must be offered at no cost to participants during the 
program. We have added paragraph (b)(10) to provide that applicants may 
choose to charge reasonable fees to cohort participants but must 
describe in their application how these fees will be determined. In 
addition, we have provided that, upon award, applicants must develop 
internal policies and procedures for collecting and effectively 
managing these fees, and for waiving these fees for a cohort 
participant if there is a financial hardship. Any fees retained as a 
result of a participant dropping out are considered program income.

Number of Cohorts

    Comment: Several commenters recommended a specific number of 
cohorts and a number of novice interpreters per cohort. Generally, 
commenters supported cohorts of 8 to 12 novice interpreters based on 
the Conference of Interpreter Trainers' recommended classroom size for 
interpreter education classes. One commenter recommended following CCIE 
guidelines of up to 12 in a cohort. Other commenters suggested 3 to 4 
cohorts with anywhere from 8 to 12 novice interpreters. One commenter 
indicated that class sizes need to be on the smaller side so that 
students can get more personalized and in-depth attention. Another 
commenter recommended the Department should not require a certain 
number of novice interpreters per cohort since this number could vary 
greatly among each program. However, the commenter suggested the 
Department could require the applicant to establish guidelines basing 
the number of interpreters in each cohort on the applicant's program 
size.
    Discussion: We agree that the number of novice interpreters per 
cohort may vary depending on the pilot site. We also agree that novice 
interpreters will require personalized and in-depth attention. We 
revised the priority to allow applicants to provide a plan in their 
application for how they will determine the number of cohorts for each 
pilot site and the number of participants in each cohort upon award. 
Applicants should plan accordingly for all cohorts to complete the 
training program before the end of the project in order to evaluate and 
report on outcomes of each cohort in each pilot site.
    Change: In paragraph (b)(2) of the Training Activities section of 
the priority, we have added the option for applicants to provide a plan 
for how they will determine the number of cohorts for each pilot site 
and the number of participants in each cohort upon award, rather than 
requiring that all applicants make this determination in the 
application.

General Comments

    Comment: A couple of commenters suggested participants in the 
cohort should receive college credit or continuing education units for 
participation in an effort to elevate interest and recruitment into the 
program.
    Discussion: We anticipate a number of cohort participants will be 
students in their final semester of completing their baccalaureate 
degree English-ASL program and, therefore, may not benefit from 
additional college credit. However, nothing in the priority prevents 
applicants from proposing to award college credits or continuing 
education units to participants. Should they choose to award such 
credits, applicants are expected in their application to describe their 
plans to do so.
    Change: We have added paragraph (b)(8) in the Training Activities 
section of this priority to clarify that applicants may determine 
whether to award college credits or continuing education units to 
cohort participants, as appropriate, and to require applicants to 
describe any plans for awarding college credits or continuation 
education units in their application.
    Comment: One commenter recommended an invitational priority or 
competitive preference for novice applicants.

[[Page 48341]]

    Discussion: A novice applicant priority already exists under 34 CFR 
77.225, so it is not necessary to establish one in this NFP. If we use 
the novice priority in a competition, we will provide notification in 
the applicable notice inviting application published in the Federal 
Register.
    Change: None.
    Comment: Two commenters recommended the priority support two 
additional areas to address unmet needs in the field. The first 
commenter indicated that research has provided a snapshot into the 
unmet needs of deaf or hard of hearing individuals and individuals who 
are deaf-blind, and, therefore, recommended we include a robust needs 
assessment (which was part of the 2010 interpreter training grants) 
within this priority. The second commenter recommended that we require 
grantees to undertake the research necessary to develop a 
psychometrically valid instrument because, they stated, no domain-
specific instrument exists yet in the sign language interpreting field 
for evaluating intercultural competency.
    Discussion: These activities are outside the purpose and intent of 
this priority.
    Change: None.
    Comment: While the majority of comments support the goals and 
intent of the proposed priority, five commenters recommended 
maintaining the current national and regional interpreter education 
centers.
    Discussion: We do not believe maintaining the current structure of 
national and regional interpreter education centers is in the best 
interest of the field. The Department has funded interpreter training 
programs since 1964 to meet the needs of VR consumers who are deaf or 
hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. At each critical 
juncture, we have re-evaluated the interpreter training program to 
determine how to best meet the needs of consumers of interpreting 
services. In the course of this ongoing re-evaluation, we concluded 
that, since 2005, when the current priorities were established for the 
national and regional centers, the training needs of interpreters have 
changed as a result of new and emerging issues facing VR consumers who 
are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. The 
Department gave serious consideration to how we could continue to 
effectively use our funds to influence the field of interpreter 
education and ultimately meet the current and future needs of VR 
consumers.
    As we noted in the background section in the NPP, we believe the 
need for interpreting services continues to exceed the available supply 
of qualified interpreters. Interpreters must be qualified to work with 
both individuals with a range of linguistic competencies from a variety 
of cultural backgrounds and individuals with disabilities. Interpreters 
need additional education, training, and experience in order to meet 
certification standards, to bridge the graduation-to-credential gap, 
and to gain sufficient skills to interpret effectively. Therefore, we 
believe establishing a Model Demonstration Center will better prepare 
novice interpreters to become nationally certified sign language 
interpreters in order to meet the needs of individuals who are deaf and 
hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind.
    Change: None.
    Comment: Several commenters offered additional strategies beyond 
the required logic model and project evaluation to ensure that grantees 
are evaluating their programs throughout planning, designing, and 
implementing the experiential learning curriculum. For example, 
commenters suggested that applicants could supplement or strengthen 
their evaluation using secondary sources such as research and 
investigative books, journal articles, and dissertations, and use 
national certifications such as the BEI or EIPA, portfolios, consumer 
endorsement, and other relevant methods of design.
    Discussion: We acknowledge there are other potential strategies 
that could be used to ensure a program evaluation framework includes 
the planning, designing, and implementing of the experiential learning 
curriculum. Applicants may propose unique or additional strategies 
beyond the required logic model and program evaluation. Applicants 
should provide rationale in their application to support these 
additional strategies.
    Change: None.
    FINAL PRIORITY:
    This notice contains one final priority.
    Experiential Learning Model Demonstration Center for Novice 
Interpreters and Baccalaureate Degree ASL-English Interpretation 
Programs.
    Final Priority:
    The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement for 
the establishment of a model demonstration center (Center) to: (1) 
Develop an experiential learning program that could be implemented 
through baccalaureate degree ASL-English programs or through partner 
organizations, such as community-based organizations, advocacy 
organizations, or commissions for the deaf or deaf-blind that work with 
baccalaureate degree ASL-English programs to provide work experiences 
and mentoring; (2) pilot the experiential learning program in three 
baccalaureate degree ASL-English programs and evaluate the results; and 
(3) disseminate practices that are promising or supported by evidence, 
examples, and lessons learned.
    The Center must prepare novice interpreters to work in VR settings 
and be designed to achieve, at a minimum, the following outcomes:
    (a) Increase the number of certified interpreters.
    (b) Reduce the average length of time it takes for novice 
interpreters to become nationally certified after graduating from 
baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation programs; and
    (c) Increase the average number of hours that novice interpreters, 
through the experiential learning program, interact with and learn from 
the local deaf community.

Project Activities

    To meet the requirements of this priority, the Center must, at a 
minimum, conduct the following activities:

Establish a consortium

    (a) The applicant must establish a consortium of training and 
technical assistance (TA) providers or use an existing network of 
providers to design and implement a model experiential learning 
program. An eligible consortium must be comprised of a designated lead 
applicant that operates a baccalaureate degree ASL-English 
interpretation program that is recognized and accredited by CCIE or 
that operates both bachelor's and master's degree programs in 
interpreter education that are recognized and accredited by CCIE; and
    (b) Members of the consortium must be staffed by or have access to 
experienced and certified interpreters, interpreter educators, 
individuals who are deaf, trained mentors, and first language models in 
ASL. The consortium must also represent members with diverse linguistic 
and cultural minority backgrounds who are qualified to provide 
instruction on best practices in interpreting in diverse cultural and 
linguistic settings. All consortium members must demonstrate the 
capability to provide training, mentoring, and feedback in person or 
remotely to novice interpreters who are geographically dispersed across 
the country, including the territories.

[[Page 48342]]

Training Activities

    (a) In years one and two, design and implement an experiential 
learning program that is based upon promising and best practices or 
modules in the preparation of novice interpreters to become certified 
interpreters. The program design must, at a minimum:
    (1) Include a team that comprises native language users, qualified 
professionals, and trained mentors to partner with novice interpreters 
during and after successful completion of the experiential learning 
program. Applicants must describe in their application the roles and 
responsibilities for each team member. Roles for team members must 
include but are not limited to:
    (i) Native language users who will serve as language models;
    (ii) Qualified professionals who will act in an advisory role by 
observing, providing feedback, and discussing the novice interpreter's 
ability to accurately interpret spoken English into ASL and ASL into 
spoken English in a variety of situations for a range of consumers; and
    (iii) Provide mentoring to novice interpreters, as needed. This may 
include one-on-one instruction to address specific areas identified by 
the advisor as needing further practice, as well as offering tools, 
resources, and guidance to novice interpreters to prepare them for 
potential challenges they may encounter as they grow and advance in the 
profession. One-on-one instruction may address, but is not limited to, 
meaning transfer (e.g., accurately providing an equivalent message, 
appropriately handling register), ethical behavior, meeting the 
consumer's linguistic preference, managing the flow of information 
(e.g., pace, density, turn-taking), and other related aspects of the 
interpreting task.
    (2) Provide multiple learning opportunities, such as an internship 
with a community program, mentoring, and intensive site-specific work. 
Intensive site-specific work may task a novice interpreter, under close 
direction from the advisor interpreter, with providing interpreting 
services to deaf individuals employed at a work site, or to deaf 
students taking courses at college or enrolled in an apprenticeship 
program. Other learning modalities may be proposed and must include 
adequate justification.
    (3) Emphasize innovative instructional delivery methods, such as 
distance learning or block scheduling (i.e., a type of academic 
scheduling that offers students fewer classes per day for longer 
periods of time) that would allow novice interpreters to more easily 
participate in the program (i.e., participants who need to work while 
in the program, have child care or elder care considerations, or live 
in geographically isolated areas);
    (4) Provide experiential learning that engages novice interpreters 
with different learning styles;
    (5) Provide interpreting experiences with a variety of deaf 
consumers who have different linguistic and communication needs and 
preferences, and are located in different settings, including VR 
settings (e.g., VR counseling, assessments, job-related services, 
training, pre-employment transition services, transition services, 
post-employment services, etc.), American Job Centers, and other 
relevant workforce partner locations;
    (6) Require novice interpreters to observe, discuss, and reflect on 
the work of the advisor interpreter;
    (7) Require novice interpreters to interpret in increasingly more 
complex and demanding situations. The advisor interpreter must provide 
written and oral feedback that includes strengths and areas of 
improvement, as well as a discussion with the novice interpreter about 
interpretation options, ethical behavior, and how best to meet the 
communication needs of a particular consumer; and
    (b) Pilot the experiential learning program in a single site by 
year two and expand to additional sites beginning in year three. 
Applicants must:
    (1) Identify at least three existing baccalaureate degree ASL-
English interpretation programs to host the pilot sites. The 
baccalaureate programs must use a curriculum design that is based upon 
current best practices in the ASL-English Interpreter Education 
profession. Applicants may identify the pilot sites in the application 
or describe the process and criteria they will use to identify the 
pilot sites upon award;
    (2) Indicate in the application the number of cohorts for each 
pilot site and the number of participants in each cohort or provide a 
plan in the application for how this will be determined upon award;
    (3) Provide a plan in the application to ensure that at least one 
cohort is completed in each pilot site prior to the end of the project 
period;
    (4) Ensure cohort participants intend to obtain national 
certification and interpret for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing 
and individuals who are deaf-blind, including deaf consumers of the VR 
system. Cohort participants may include deaf individuals, students 
within one or two semesters of completing their interpreter education 
program, recent graduates of interpreter education programs, and 
working novice interpreters;
    (5) To the extent possible, ensure diversity and inclusion among 
cohort participants and ensure recruitment of students of color, 
trilingual students, deaf and deaf-blind students, and children of deaf 
adults;
    (6) Establish processes and procedures for recruitment and 
selection of cohort participants, including criteria to ensure cohort 
participants demonstrate the capability to successfully complete the 
program and obtain national certification. This may include, but is not 
limited to, submission of an application, relevant assessments, 
interviewing prospective participants, and obtaining recommendations 
from faculty at baccalaureate degree ASL-English interpretation 
programs and other appropriate entities;
    (7) Establish procedures to identify and provide technical 
assistance to cohort participants who may be ``at risk'' of dropping 
out of the program;
    (8) Determine if college credits or continuing education units will 
be awarded to cohort participants, as appropriate. Should applicants 
choose to do so, they must describe any plans for awarding college 
credits or continuation education units in their application;
    (9) Describe any assessment tools that will be used to gauge the 
progress of novice interpreters. Any proposed instruments must be valid 
and reliable and the applicant must submit rationale to support the use 
of each instrument;
    (10) Describe in their application how any reasonable fees that the 
applicant proposes to charge cohort participants will be determined. If 
successful, upon award, applicants must develop internal policies and 
procedures for collecting and effectively managing these fees, as well 
for waiving fees for a cohort participant if there is a financial 
hardship. Any fees retained as a result of a participant dropping out 
are considered program income. Therefore, applicants should refer to 2 
CFR 200.307 for applicable regulations for program income; and
    (11) Develop and effectively communicate to all cohort participants 
the policies and procedures related to participation in the 
experiential learning program.
    (c) Conduct a formative and summative evaluation. Any proposed 
instruments must be valid and reliable and the applicant must submit 
rationale to support the use of each instrument. At a minimum, this 
must include:
    (1) An assessment of participant outcomes from each cohort that

[[Page 48343]]

includes, at a minimum, level of knowledge and practical skill levels 
using pre- and post-assessments; feedback from novice interpreters, 
from interpreter advisors, including written feedback from observed 
interpreting situations, from deaf consumers, from trained mentors, 
including written feedback from mentoring sessions, and from others, as 
appropriate;
    (2) Clear and specific measureable outcomes that include, but are 
not limited to:
    (i) Improvement in specific linguistic competencies, as identified 
by the applicant, in English and ASL;
    (ii) Improvement in specific competencies, as identified by the 
applicant, in ASL-English interpretation;
    (iii) Outcomes in achieving national certification; and
    (iv) The length of time for novice interpreters to become 
nationally certified sign language interpreters after participating in 
this project compared to the national average of 19-24 months.

Technical Assistance and Dissemination Activities

    Conduct TA and dissemination activities that must include:
    (a) Preparing and broadly disseminating TA materials related to 
practices that are promising or supported by evidence and successful 
strategies for working with novice interpreters;
    (b) Establishing and maintaining a state-of-the-art information 
technology (IT) platform sufficient to support Webinars, 
teleconferences, video conferences, and other virtual methods of 
dissemination of information and TA.

    Note:  All products produced by the Center must meet government- 
and industry-recognized standards for accessibility, including 
section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

    (c) Developing and maintaining a state-of-the-art archiving and 
dissemination system that--
    (1) Provides a central location for later use of TA products, 
including curricula, audiovisual materials, Webinars, examples of 
practices that are promising or supported by evidence, and any other 
relevant TA products; and
    (2) Is open and available to the public.
    (d) Providing a minimum of two Webinars or video conferences over 
the course of the project to describe and disseminate information to 
the field about results, challenges, solutions, and practices that are 
promising or supported by evidence.

    Note:  In meeting the requirements for paragraphs (a), (b), and 
(c) of this section, the Center either may develop new platforms or 
systems or may modify existing platforms or systems, so long as the 
requirements of this priority are met.

Coordination Activities

    (a) Establish an advisory committee. To effectively implement the 
Training Activities section of this priority, the applicant must 
establish an advisory committee that meets at least semi-annually. The 
advisory committee must include representation from all affected 
stakeholder groups (i.e., interpreters, interpreter training programs, 
deaf individuals, and VR agencies) and may include other relevant 
groups. The advisory committee will advise on the strategies for 
establishing sites to pilot the experiential learning program, the 
approaches to the experiential learning program, modifications to 
experiential learning activities, TA, sustainability planning, and 
evaluating the effectiveness of the program, as well as other relevant 
areas as determined by the consortium.
    (b) Establish one or more communities of practice \3\ that focus on 
project activities in this priority and that act as vehicles for 
communication and exchange of information among participants in the 
experiential learning program, as well as other relevant stakeholders;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who work 
together to solve a persistent problem or to improve practice in an 
area that is important to them and who deepen their knowledge and 
expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis. CoPs exist in many 
forms, some large in scale that deal with complex problems, others 
small in scale that focus on a problem at a very specific level. For 
more information on communities of practice, see: www.tadnet.org/pages/510.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate, on an ongoing basis, 
with other relevant Department-funded projects, as applicable; and
    (d) Maintain ongoing communication with the RSA project officer and 
other RSA staff as required.

Application Requirements

    To be funded under this priority, applicants must meet the 
application requirements in this priority. RSA encourages innovative 
approaches to meet the following requirements:
    (a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Significance of the Project,'' how the proposed project will address 
the need for nationally certified sign language interpreters. To meet 
this requirement, the applicant must:
    (1) Demonstrate knowledge of English/ASL competencies that novice 
interpreters must possess in order to enter and to complete an 
experiential learning program and, at the end of the program, to 
successfully obtain national certification;
    (2) Demonstrate knowledge of practices that are promising or 
supported by evidence in training novice interpreters; and
    (3) Demonstrate knowledge of practices that are promising or 
supported by evidence in providing experiential learning.
    (b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of Project Services,'' how the proposed project will--
    (1) Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that 
have historically been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability in accessing postsecondary education 
and training;
    (2) Identify the needs of intended recipients of training; and
    (3) Ensure that project activities and products meet the needs of 
the intended recipients by creating materials in formats and languages 
that are accessible;
    (4) Achieve its goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. To meet 
this requirement, the applicant must identify and provide--
    (i) Measurable intended project outcomes;
    (ii) Evidence of an existing Memorandum of Understanding or a 
Letter of Intent between the lead applicant, members of the consortium, 
other proposed training and TA providers, and other relevant partners 
to establish a consortium that includes a description of each proposed 
partner's anticipated commitment of financial or in-kind resources (if 
any), how each proposed provider's current and proposed activities 
align with those of the proposed project, how each proposed provider 
will be held accountable under the proposed structure, and evidence to 
demonstrate a working relationship between the applicant and its 
proposed partners and key stakeholders and other relevant groups; and
    (iii) A plan for communicating, collaborating, and coordinating 
with an advisory committee; key staff in State VR agencies, such as 
State Coordinators for the Deaf; State and local partner programs; 
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.; RSA partners, such as the 
Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation and the 
National Council of State Agencies for the Blind; and relevant programs 
within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 
(OSERS).
    (3) Use a conceptual framework to design experiential learning 
activities,

[[Page 48344]]

describing any underlying concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, 
or theories, as well as the presumed relationships or linkages among 
these variables and any empirical support for this framework.
    (4) Be based on current research and make use of practices that are 
promising or supported by evidence.
    To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (i) How the current research about adult learning principles and 
implementation science will inform the proposed TA; and
    (ii) How the proposed project will incorporate current research and 
practices that are promising or supported by evidence in the 
development and delivery of its products and services.
    (5) Develop products and provide services that are of high quality 
and sufficient intensity and duration to achieve the intended outcomes 
of the proposed project. To address this requirement, the applicant 
must describe its proposed activities to identify or develop the 
knowledge base for practices that are promising or supported by 
evidence in experiential learning for novice interpreters.
    (6) Develop products and implement services to maximize the 
project's efficiency. To address this requirement, the applicant must 
describe--
    (i) How the proposed project will use technology to achieve the 
intended project outcomes; and
    (ii) With whom the proposed project will collaborate and the 
intended outcomes of this collaboration.
    (c) In the narrative section of the application under ``Quality of 
the Evaluation Plan,'' include an evaluation plan for the project. To 
address this requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (1) Evaluation methodologies, including instruments, data 
collection methods, and analyses that will be used to evaluate the 
project. Any proposed instruments must be valid and reliable, and the 
applicant must submit rationale to support the use of each instrument;
    (2) Measures of progress in implementation, including the extent to 
which the project's activities and products have reached their target 
populations; intended outcomes or results of the project's activities 
in order to evaluate those activities; and how well the goals and 
objectives of the proposed project, as described in its logic model,\4\ 
have been met;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ A logic model communicates how the project will achieve its 
intended outcomes and provides a framework for both the formative 
and summative evaluations of the project.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) How the evaluation plan will be implemented and revised, as 
needed, during the project. The applicant must designate at least one 
individual with sufficient dedicated time, experience in evaluation, 
and knowledge of the project to support the design and implementation 
of the evaluation. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, 
coordinating with the advisory committee and RSA to revise the logic 
model to provide for a more comprehensive measurement of implementation 
and outcomes, to reflect any changes or clarifications to the logic 
model discussed at the kick-off meeting, and to revise the evaluation 
design and instrumentation proposed in the grant application consistent 
with the logic model (e.g., developing quantitative or qualitative data 
collections that permit both the collection of progress data and the 
assessment of project outcomes);
    (4) The standards and targets for determining effectiveness;
    (5) How evaluation results will be used to examine the 
effectiveness of implementation and progress toward achieving the 
intended outcomes; and
    (6) How the methods of evaluation will produce quantitative and 
qualitative data that demonstrate whether the project activities 
achieved their intended outcomes.
    (d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Adequacy of Project Resources,'' how--
    (1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment 
from persons who are members of groups that have historically been 
underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or 
disability, as appropriate;
    (2) The proposed key project personnel, consultants, and 
subcontractors have the qualifications and experience to provide 
experiential learning to novice interpreters and to achieve the 
project's intended outcomes;
    (3) The applicant and any key partners have adequate resources to 
carry out the proposed activities; and
    (4) The proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the 
anticipated results and benefits.
    (e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of the Management Plan,'' how--
    (1) The proposed management plan will ensure that the project's 
intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To 
address this requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (i) Clearly defined responsibilities for key project personnel, 
consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable; and
    (ii) Timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks;
    (2) Key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors 
allocated to the project and how these allocations are appropriate and 
adequate to achieve the project's intended outcomes, including an 
assurance that such personnel will have adequate availability to ensure 
timely communications with stakeholders and RSA;
    (3) The proposed management plan will ensure that the products and 
services provided are of high quality; and
    (4) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of 
perspectives, including the advisory committee, as well as other 
relevant groups in its development and operation.
    (f) Address the following application requirements. The applicant 
must--
    (1) Include, in Appendix A, a logic model that depicts, at a 
minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and intended outcomes of the 
proposed project;
    (2) Include, in Appendix A, a Memorandum of Understanding or a 
Letter of Intent between the lead applicant, members of the consortium, 
other proposed training and TA providers, and other relevant partners;
    (3) Include, in Appendix A, a conceptual framework for the project;
    (4) Include, in Appendix A, person-loading charts and timelines as 
applicable, to illustrate the management plan described in the 
narrative;
    (5) Include, in the budget, attendance at the following:
    (i) A one and one-half day kick-off meeting in Washington, DC, 
after receipt of the award;
    (ii) An annual planning meeting in Washington, DC, with the RSA 
project officer and other relevant RSA staff during each subsequent 
year of the project period; and
    (iii) A one-day intensive review meeting in Washington, DC, during 
the third quarter of the third year of the project period.
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority,

[[Page 48345]]

we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding 
additional points, depending on the extent to which the application 
meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an 
application that meets the priority over an application of comparable 
merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent 
burden, the Department provides the general public and Federal agencies 
with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections 
of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps ensure that: The public 
understands the Department's collection instructions, respondents can 
provide the requested data in the desired format, reporting burden 
(time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are 
clearly understood, and the Department can properly assess the impact 
of collection requirements on respondents.
    This final priority contains information collection requirements 
that are approved by OMB under the National Interpreter Education 
program 1820-0018; this final priority does not affect the currently 
approved data collection.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive Order and subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866 defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely 
to result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or 
tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This final regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action 
subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.
    We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive 
Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, 
structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in 
Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 
13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing this final priority only on a reasoned determination 
that its benefits justify its costs. In choosing among alternative 
regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net 
benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes 
that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in 
Executive Order 13563.
    We also have determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has 
assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and 
qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those 
resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as 
necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities.
    Through this priority, experiential learning and TA will be 
provided to novice interpreters in order for them to achieve national 
certification. These activities will help interpreters to more 
effectively meet the communication needs of individuals who are deaf or 
hard of hearing and individuals who are deaf-blind. The training 
ultimately will improve the quality of VR services and the competitive 
integrated employment outcomes achieved by individuals with 
disabilities. This priority will promote the efficient and effective 
use of Federal funds.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about 
Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 
12372 is in the application package for this program.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site, you can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Portable Document Format

[[Page 48346]]

(PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is 
available free at the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: July 19, 2016.
Sue Swenson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2016-17404 Filed 7-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P