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Government Relations

Training for Realtime Writers Grants

The Training for Realtime Writers grant program was created to help train more captioners to meet the need of the estimated 48 million American who are deaf or report at least some hearing loss. The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education administers the grants (CFDA Number 84.116K).

The temporary grant program was rolled into the Higher Education Act of 2009 and was funded for approximately $1 million a year, paid out to between two and four court reporting and captioning programs across the country. NCRA has requested that Congress renew the Training for Realtime Writers grants by reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, with no changes to the language or the funding level.

The Training for Realtime Writers Grant program is critical to fulfilling requirements from the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, and the 2014 FCC guidelines on captioning quality.

The grants go to training court reporters and captioners to fill the needs of two industries, specifically:

  • Closed captioning: Live captioners are used to provide access to individuals watching the local or national news, sporting events, talk shows, and other live broadcast content.
  • CART (Communications Access Realtime Translation) captioning: Using the same skills as a closed captioner, the CART captioner’s services provide access to captions to individuals in a classroom, religious, or civic setting. Often, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates this type of captioning.

The grant program has been incredibly successful in training the current generation of captioners and court reporters. Funds have been used to modernize curriculums, develop new captioning-specific programs, and increase attendance through student recruitment, scholarships, advertisements, equipment upgrades, and distance-learning programs.

The Training for Realtime Writers grants have provided excellent opportunities for individuals entering a well-paying, highly skilled growing career, with many court reporting and captioning programs boasting job placement rates that approach 100 percent.