Dear Sign Language Interpreter Community,
I trust this letter finds you in good health and spirits. I am Chad A. Ludwig, the Executive Director of Bridges Oregon, writing to you on behalf of our National Sign Language Assessment (NSLA).
A brief history: In 2021, Bridges Oregon assumed responsibility for the sign language assessment from the Research & Resources Center with Deaf* communities (RRCD) at Western Oregon University. This transition came after nearly two years of operations at the university. Previously, Western had hosted the sign language assessment program, which faced challenges and eventually phased out due to capacity issues. With increasing demand on the west coast, where existing service providers were struggling to meet the needs, the sign language assessment program was reinstated. However, due to its complex processes, the growth of the program was impeded, leading to its relocation to Bridges Oregon.
This move facilitated our collaboration with Avant Assessments, an international company based in Eugene, Oregon. With our support, Avant now provides computer-adaptive sign language assessment services accessible to numerous K-12 schools across the country. This expansion has led to the formation of a larger team of independent contractors serving as interviewers and raters, resulting in a growing customer base each year.
In terms of compensating our interviewers and raters, our payment structure covers various roles, including the SLPI: ASL coordinator (Max Williamson), SLPI: ASL Director (Buffy Reis), and others. Notably, the executive director’s salary is not funded by NSLA. Instead, the salary is divided into various pay structures. The position is compensated at a 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE). To break down the sources, 0.125 FTE is covered by grants from the Victim of General Crime, Survivor Investment Program, and the Office on Violence Against Women. The remaining 0.625 FTE is supported by our Employment and Independent Living revenues. Our aim is to gradually transition towards a model where the executive director’s salary is fully supported by revenues generated from our sign language interpreting services, particularly our emerging A5 Interpreting division, along with Employment and Independent Living revenues. The grants supporting a portion of the executive director’s salary will be redirected to fund our new Director of Advocacy Services position in the future.
I hope this provides clarity and reassurance if you choose to engage with the sign language assessment services offered by Bridges Oregon. It’s crucial to understand that 100% of the profits generated from these services go directly to supporting the communities in need.
Chad A. Ludwig, MSW, ADAC, OHCI, CDI
About Bridges Oregon: Bridges Oregon is a statewide culturally and linguistically specific nonprofit organization committed to serving Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing, or face other communication barriers. Our mission is to facilitate equity and inclusiveness by providing a bridge to opportunities through advocacy, education, and communication.