A Library for Helping Limited English Speakers

This online Language Portal holds thousands of government documents designed to help people who speak limited to no English.
by | January 5, 2012 AT 3:00 PM

If cities, counties or states are strapped for the resources it takes to offer new or existing services for people who speak limited English, the Migration Policy Institute's Language Portal holds the key to their problems. It's an online database filled with almost 3,000 documents that state and local agencies have used to help this often hard-to-reach segment of the population (an issue that Governing's Ryan Holeywell explored in-depth this month). Users can narrow their search for resources by language, service, issue and state. Over a third of the documents address education -- an area where language has emerged as a divisive issue and the one that governments seem to care about most, according to Chhandasi Pandya, the policy analyst who runs the Language Portal. According to Pandya, the site's most recent users include agencies in Illinois and Philadelphia, especially since the site gained hundreds of documents from the New York City Department of Education, an agency seen as a leader in helping this population gain educational access.