Illinois Department of Human Services and the Governor's Office of New Americans

Increasing Language Access, Advancing Cultural Competence

A growing population of immigrants with limited English proficiency presents challenges for states on many levels. Limited proficiency can prevent immigrants from getting critical services and information that can enable them to become successful and productive members of society.

In its effort to increase language access to state services, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Governor' Office of New Americans engaged Millennia to assess the current situation and develop concrete strategies for the future as part of the New Americans Executive Order. For this project, Millennia worked closely with health and human service professionals and immigrant and refugee leadership to access the strengths and weaknesses of Illinois' current approaches to language access and cultural competence. Millennia consultants joined with several other researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of six divisions of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The firm later developed a language access plan for the department and helped design and launch the State of Illinois Welcoming Center, which offers quick access for new Americans to the services the state provides. The Welcoming Center staff is bilingual English/Spanish and has access to multilingual interpreters and translators.

Millennia also helped develop the Language and Cultural Competence Guidelines for State of Illinois Subcontractors and Vendors.

Senior-level expertise combined with a deep knowledge of immigrant policy and hands-on experience implementing a wide range of planning and program design assignments in immigrant and refugee communities allowed Millennia to respond quickly and flexibly to a variety of demands.