Take the NCSA Challenge to promote the profession and earn prizes

Image for NCSA challenge to promote court reporting and captioning: The American flag with the wordsNCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) has kicked off its fourth annual challenge among members and state associations to promote the court reporting and captioning professions to the public.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to reach out through career fairs and other activities to spread the word about what viable career paths court reporting and captioning are. The challenge will culminate during NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 10-17. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes ranging from free webinars to event registrations.

“The NCSA Challenge is open and waiting on you,” said 2018 NCSA Chair Huey L. Bang, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Pass Christian, Miss. “How can you take part and compete? By sharing what we do and getting the word out about our wonderful profession. Grab your machine, your laptop, and a fellow reporter, and compete to make a difference in the future of court reporting,” he added.

Bang suggests participants consider showcasing the profession by giving high school and career day demonstrations, participating in Veterans History Project events, hosting special events within the community, and more.

“My motivating factor has been the threat of court reporting school closings. So many court reporting schools have been closing as of late,” said Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, and winner of the last two NCSA Challenges. To earn the top honors, Uviedo organized a team of volunteers to participate in dozens of high school career fairs throughout the state.

Today, she continues her quest and reports that through these and other efforts (including media outreach), enrollment in area court reporting schools has started to rise.

“San Antonio College had that threat a few years ago. We had 37 students enrolled at the time, and I made it my personal goal to see if we could attain 100 student enrollments. With 67 currently enrolled, we are well on our way,” she added.

NCRA members and state associations can learn more about the NCSA Challenge by visiting NCRA.org/government.

“The profession needs your help to grow the number of people entering court reporting and captioning. Participating is easy to do and the difference you make in our profession will benefit us all,” Bang said. “And who knows — you might even win!”

Let the festivities begin in Las Vegas

More than 1,300 court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, educators, students, and other legal professionals joined together to kick off the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo today at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The event runs through Sunday, Aug. 13, and is the largest gathering of professionals in the court reporting and captioning professions.

Festivities began with the Opening Reception held in the Expo Hall where dozens of vendors are displaying new products and services. In addition, a number of day-long pre-Convention intensive CAT vendor workshops were also offered.

Other highlights of the day included the Annual Business Meeting, the National Committee of State Associations Meeting, and the National Realtime Contest where contestants in the sold-out competition battled for top honors. First-time Convention goers also enjoyed an “Only New Once” networking reception.

NCSA 2017 challenge winner exceeds last year’s win

Erminia_NCSA_squareFor the past three years, the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) has issued a friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. Participants had the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education. Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, has won the grand prize of a complimentary registration to the NCRA Convention & Expo for the last two challenges.

In an interview about her first win, Uviedo said her goal was to win again in 2017 by beating her own record of coordinating participation in 26 school career fairs. And top honors she did earn by coordinating volunteers for participation in 32 career fairs and college nights in the San Antonio area.

The JCR Weekly reached out to her to learn more about what motivates her to put so much effort into promoting the profession.

How many career fairs did you organize for court reporters to participate in during this last NCSA challenge?

I contacted, reserved tables, and coordinated volunteers for 32 career fair/college nights, mainly in San Antonio, but also reached out to some schools in South Texas, West Texas, and North Texas.

How many of those did you participate in?

I participated in seven events as a presenter.

How did you identify events to participate?

This year, I tried to add schools we didn’t reach last year, and we returned to the schools that had a good setup for meeting students. I also searched the Web for advertisements for college nights for certain areas.

How did you recruit volunteers to help?

I posted on Facebook asking for volunteers again and had a lot of returning volunteers. They were so excited to help again. I reached out to certain court reporters I knew in other areas that have always been willing to help. I was very happy with recruitment in the Rio Grande Valley (McAllen and Brownsville). They began recruiting just this year and had seven successful events. I expect more activity next year. #teamwork

What is the biggest factor motivating you to reach out to participate in so many career day events?

My motivating factor has been the threat of court reporting school closings. So many court reporting schools have been closing as of late. San Antonio College had that threat a few years ago. We had 37 students enrolled at the time, and I made it my personal goal to see if we could attain 100 student enrollments. With 67 currently enrolled, we are well on our way.

What have some of the responses been from students learning about court reporting for the first time?

Students are always in awe of the technology. They are amazed. When I tell them it’s like texting, they are even more intrigued.

Do you know of any students who have followed a career path in this profession because of career fairs you have participated in?

Yes, I do, more than a couple. I always ask: Where did you hear about us? Some have said career fairs. Some have said Facebook posts. Some just knew somebody who knew somebody who was a court reporter.

Do you serve as a mentor for current court reporting students? If so, why?

Because court reporting is such a unique skill, students need motivation to keep going. Family members and friends don’t understand their frustration in getting a 95 percent on a test. But reporters definitely do. We can definitely relate. Sometimes all students need is a friendly ear.

But working reporters also provide valuable information to students, likes tips on practicing, writing shorter, writing cleaner, dealing with test anxiety, and being professional. All of our San Antonio College court reporting students get sponsored to attend our state convention; every single one. Since our San Antonio Elite Mentorship Program got off the ground two years ago, we have so many more students advancing. The first year we had six sit for the certified shorthand reporter exam, more than we did in many years. This year we expect to have another five, at least.

I am assuming you have fun participating in these events. What is the best part of participating for you?

I love demonstrating realtime for students. I love to write what they are saying, and they get such a kick out of it. They are always fascinated, as are the teachers, counselors, and parents.

What advice would you give to other reporters thinking of participating in career fairs?

I would definitely tell them it’s a team effort. If they can get together a group of reporters who are all willing to cover these fairs in a certain area, that would be the best approach. Reporters’ schedules change daily, so, if a whole team is together and willing, the process of getting them all coordinated and covered will go that much smoother.

What is the best part of attending a national convention?

My first NCRA convention was in Las Vegas back in 2011. At the time, the best part for me was being kept apprised of all the issues facing our profession. I love advancing my skills. The first NCRA convention, I was excited about Realtime Coach. It was just starting. And I loved the concept because I was working on my realtime at the time. This past year, I was excited about attending the captioner’s workshop and learning about the field of captioning.

What are you looking forward to most about this year’s convention?

I loved meeting court reporting students and new reporters last year. I love to hear their stories of where they are working now, where they went to school, what they did to overcome obstacles, or how they practiced. Any tips I can bring back to our students.

You were also a recipient of a JCR Award this year. Were you surprised? What is so important about earning this award?

Yes, I was a little surprised. I feel so honored to have been recognized by NCRA. What an accomplishment! I feel it’s like winning an Emmy.

What is your goal for next year’s NCSA challenge?

I would love to reach more schools in the Rio Grande Valley, try to increase recruitment to 10 next year, as the Rio Grande Valley has been feeling the shortage for a while now and it’s such a wonderful place to live and work.

I feel that every state needs to form a Student Recruitment Committee or Task Force. Map out your state and get to work! It’s not difficult at all. There are plenty of schools and recruiting opportunities. We just need the volunteers to cover them. We can keep our court reporting schools open!

NCSA challenge inspires members to showcase court reporting and captioning professions

Although the kick-off for NCRA’s fifth National Court Reporting & Captioning Week is still weeks away, members have already begun reporting activities that are showcasing the court reporting and captioning professions. NCRA’s 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week is set for Feb. 11-18.

In Texas, for example, the state’s court reporter association’s Student Recruitment Task Force has already reported career fairs and school visits in high schools and community colleges in areas such as Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Houston, Midland-Odessa, and San Antonio. A recruitment event hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Court Reporters in Hidalgo County also generated a feature story on local television station KRGV Channel 5.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, members of the state court reporters association introduced students at a local vocational school to the court reporting and captioning professions. Many students attending the event expressed interest in the profession, and several said they would be willing to participate in an introduction to machine shorthand class.

img_4095_adjustedStudents at McClintock High School in Tempe, Ariz., were also recently introduced to the court reporting and captioning professions during a career day held in mid-November. NCRA members Doreen Sutton, RPR, a freelance reporter from Scottsdale, and Cindy Lineburg, RPR, and Amy Weaver, RPR, official court reporters from Phoenix, were on hand to showcase realtime writing. The students also had a chance to try out a machine and watch their names come up on iPads.

“Many of the students were interested in an introduction to steno class in order to test the possibility of enrolling in a stenography course as well as learning more about their options for future employment,” Sutton said.

Some of this early activity can be attributed in part to the friendly challenge issued by the National Committee for States (NCSA) during the NCRA Convention & Expo held this past August, according to NCSA Chair Mary Bader, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis.

“This is the third year NCSA has issued this friendly challenge among members and state associations to promote our profession as a viable career path as well as to showcase the important work court reporters and captioners do both in and out of the courtroom. The response to the NCSA challenge has boosted activity across the nation each year, and it is exciting to see folks engaging early in celebration of our unique professions,” Bader said.

“We are hopeful that court reporters and captioners in every state will seize the opportunity to showcase our great profession during the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week,” added Bader.

The NCSA challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning for the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education. Recently, NCSA shared some tips for planning a student demonstration, which can be found on NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource page.

NCRA’s National Court Reporting & Captioning Week is designed to encourage members of the court reporting and captioning professions to celebrate their careers by hosting special events within the community and more.

In the past, an array of events have marked the week, including securing official proclamations recognizing the occasion, school and firm open houses, Veterans History Day projects, media outreach, and more.

In addition to the many resources available through NCRA.org/Awareness, the Association is also encouraging members and state associations to consider using several new resources made available this year through its Take Note campaign. The Take Note materials are designed to target specific markets for potential new students. NCRA’s Take Note campaign is based on an industry-wide outlook report conducted by an independent research firm that determined that there is a growing need for qualified people to fill jobs coming open in the court reporting and captioning fields.

The new messaging resources are part of a newly designed “Fresh Perspectives” toolkit created as part of the campaign’s phase two track to help identify, attract, and retain new students. New messaging is featured on two-sided rack cards, which were created to appeal to high school students, career changers, college students who have withdrawn, and veterans and their spouses. Each of the cards also features the text: “A career in court reporting can give you a fresh perspective.” The rack cards are available to view and download at crTakeNote.com. The new resources can be downloaded and printed and used at various events held to help promote and showcase the profession.

The ways to celebrate 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week are unlimited. To learn more how you can celebrate the week or to find the latest in resources, including press release templates, media pitches, presentations, and more, visit the Resource Center on NCRA.org or contact the NCRA communications team at pr@ncra.org. And don’t forget to share with NCRA what you plan to do to celebrate.

NCSA issues 2016-2017 Take Note competition

The National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) has issued a friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning for the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education. This is the third consecutive year NCSA has sponsored the challenge.

The challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, participate in the Veterans History Project, and celebrate 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 11-18.

“Court reporting and captioning are great careers. We all know that, and it’s time that we get that message out to the rest of the world,” said NCSA Chair Mary Bader, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis. “NCSA’s Take Note Campaign has grown each year, and we expect the current challenge to be even bigger and better than the last.”

The competition, which officially launched Aug. 8, runs through Feb. 18, 2017. Anyone participating in a qualifying event during that time period can receive credit for it by documenting their efforts at the NCSA contest site. All entries will automatically be entered into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries states can have. Click on the NSCA challenge registration site to register your event.

“The spirit of Court Reporting & Captioning Week reflects the spirit and pride we have as members of this profession. It is never too soon or too late to share that spirit and pride with the members of our communities and to spread the word about the endless opportunities court reporting and captioning offer as a career path. I’m looking forward to learning about the many ways our members across the nation celebrate our wonderful profession,” said NCRA President Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a freelance reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Bader encourages those interested in participating to visit the NCRA website for access to information and numerous suggestions about ways to showcase the court reporting and captioning professions. She also encourages those who are participating in the competition to share with other states their ideas about activities that have worked well in helping to promote the profession. Those wanting to participate who might have additional questions can also contact their regional representative directly or reach out to state leaders at leaders@ncralists.ncra.org for more information.

Participants are also encouraged to post pictures of presentations on their state association’s website and social media pages, as well as tweet using the hashtag #crTakeNote. In addition, please contact NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications Annemarie Roketenetz at aroketenetz@ncra.org with information about activities for possible inclusion in the JCR Weekly.

The prizes for the competition are tiered. Each entry into the raffle-type competition qualifies for the first, second, and third prizes. Each prize awarded is to be used at the state’s discretion, i.e. registrations for the president/delegate, raffle items/fundraising for future conventions, student gifts, etc. In addition, there is a grand prize for an individual reporter or captioner.

First prize is five free NCRA webinars, while the grand prize is a complimentary registration to the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, being held in July in Las Vegas, Nev.

“This past year has been phenomenal, being a part of showcasing our profession, talking to so many students, and showing our millennials how to write at the speed of sound,” said Erminia Uviedo, RMR, CRR, a freelancer from San Antonio, Texas, and winner of last year’s NCSA challenge grand prize.

“Seeing interested students, who are so amazed and fascinated by watching a court reporter or captioner writing realtime, brings such a rewarding and accomplished feeling as a court reporter. Our profession must continue to make appearances in schools because we must dispel the myth that the profession is obsolete and put it front and center in every way possible, especially with media coverage,” she added.

Uviedo, who won last year’s challenge after participation in more than a dozen high school career fairs in just several weeks, noted that she is ready to break last year’s record.

“Partner up with a friend. Get out there and promote our fabulous career. Challenge your friends to see who can complete the most demos, attend the most career fairs, and report the most Veterans History Project testimonials,” said Bader.

“We will celebrate our successes during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Together we can make a difference. Together we can fill our schools with qualified and enthusiastic court reporting students!”

And the winners are…

The National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) recently announced the winners of a friendly challenge the group issued to encourage state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. Prizes include complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education.

The challenge called on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, participate in the Veterans History Project, and help celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week held Feb. 14-20.

“The goal of the challenge each year is to build and grow participation by state associations and their members,” said NCSA Chair Mary Burzynski, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a natural tie-in to the completion of the NCSA competition and a great time for us to celebrate our accomplishments. The greatest benefit is that we now have a good running start at promoting court reporting, captioning, and CART to a public who may not know what we do for a living,” Burzynski said, who noted that this year’s contest was the second time NCSA has hosted it.

“We were looking for numbers. The states who won, as well as the individuals, were the ones who participated in the greatest number of school demonstrations, career fairs, or VHPs,” Burzynski noted.

Grand prize winner Erminia Uviedo, RMR, CRR, a court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, received a complimentary registration to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 4-7 in Chicago, Ill. During the contest Uviedo orchestrated involvement by fellow court reporters to exhibit at more than a dozen high school career days and was influential in generating media coverage about the profession.

“Winning the grand prize for NCSA was the cherry on top to the past six months of promoting student recruitment,” said Uviedo. “When I started organizing career fairs and presentations, I had no idea there was going to be a contest. But after I read about it on TheJCR.com, I started posting on our state association’s Facebook page to entice our members even more to volunteer. It worked!”

First prize included two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo and was awarded to the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA). Among the activities TCRA sponsored were Veteran History Projects events, exhibiting at career days, visiting local court reporting programs during open houses, and media coverage that included segments on two local morning shows.

Mary Berry, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter from San Antonio and President of TCRA, said this is the second year the association has been involved in the NCSA contest and attributes the need for court reporters nationwide as a major factor to participating. She also attributes the creation of a Student Recruitment Task Force at the state level with helping the association succeed with so many activities.

“We need to bring awareness to the public that there is a shortage of court reporters. Many we visited with had never heard of a career in court reporting. Though our target audience was the students, we found several parents just as interested in learning more about our profession,” Berry said.

“The beauty of it all is that we worked as a team — court reporting students, reporters, and instructors — to showcase our profession. Our members were able to see the value of working as a team in promoting court reporting and captioning to the public,” she added.

The Kansas Court Reporters Association earned second place in the contest and was awarded two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp that was held March 20-22 in Reston, Va. KCRA promoted the court reporting and captioning professions via an array of activities including securing an official proclamation recognizing the 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and two broadcast segments that featured interviews with Cindy Issacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Olathe, Kan., and the association’s president.

“We are so excited that we did so well, especially since we’re an itty, bitty state, compared with my home state of Texas,” Issacsen said.

Participation prizes included two NCRA $50 vouchers and were awarded to the Colorado Court Reporters Association, Connecticut Court Reporters Association, Iowa Court Reporters Association, Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners, and Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association.

“While a contest always promotes competition, I think it also fosters teamwork,” Burzynski said. “States were competing against each other for a few prizes, but at the same time, we all had the same goal. We want students in our programs, and we want the profession we love to thrive and grow.”

Burzynski encourages all state court reporter associations to plan to participate in NCSA’s 2017 contest in addition to making the commitment to promote the court reporting and captioning professions throughout the year.

“NCRA has the tools readily available on its website to help reporters get started in organizing their presentations. Make it fun! Find a colleague or two to partner up with. Set up your equipment. Print a short transcript. Assign students to be the players in the hearing. Viola! You have an easy and effective demonstration,” she added.

For resources, ideas, and tips to help promote the court reporting and captioning profession, visit NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week Web page. All materials can easily be edited to reflect the date, location, and other information relating to a state’s planned activity. For more information, contact NCRA’s Communications Team at aroketenetz@ncra.org.

NCRA offers members information on issues, state requirements

Members can find information on the certification, notary, and read-and-sign requirements of various states through the National Court Reporters Association website. This section of the website, which members must sign in to access, was compiled through NCRA’s Government Relations department and the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA). Dubbed the “State of the Nation Activities Report,” or SONAR, the data bank provides state leaders the information they need when dealing with state or national issues. In addition, SONAR can give members a way to compare various pieces of information across the states. These include certification requirements, certification boards, official fee schedule, firm registration, notary requirements, pay rates for officials, read-and-sign requirements, and state tax rules. It also allows members to look up information by state, so that members who are considering a move to a different state can research the requirements. If any of the information on your state is out of date, contact Adam Finkel at afinkel@ncra.org. Information on this can be found at NCRA.org/SONAR.

NCSA launches state Take Note competition for big prizes

The National Committee of State Associations has issued a friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning for the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education.

The challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, participate in the Veterans History Project, and help celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 14-20.

“NCRA’s Take Note campaign offers an exceptional array of resources designed to help raise awareness about the court reporting and captioning profession,” said NCSA Chair Mary Burzynski, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis. “All states and members are encouraged to participate in this fun event and help showcase this wonderful profession.”

The competition, which officially launched Oct. 1, runs through Feb. 20, 2016. Anyone participating in a qualifying event during that time period can receive credit for it by documenting their efforts at the NCSA contest site. All entries will automatically be entered into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries states can have.

“We encourage those participating in this effort to share with other states their ideas and activities that have worked well in helping to promote the profession,” Burzynski said. “In addition, those wanting to participate who might have additional questions can contact their regional representative directly or reach to leaders@ncralists.ncra.org for more information.”

Participants are also encouraged to post pictures of presentations on their state association’s website and social media pages, as well as tweet using the hashtag #crTakeNote. In addition, please contact NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications Annemarie Roketenetz at aroketenetz@ncra.org with information about activities for possible inclusion in the JCR Weekly.

The prizes for the competition are tiered. Each entry into the raffle-type competition qualifies for the first, second, and third prizes. Each prize awarded is to be used at the state’s discretion, i.e. registrations for the president/delegate, raffle items/fundraising for future conventions, student gifts, etc. In addition, there is a grand prize for an individual reporter or captioner.

First prize includes two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, being held Aug. 4-7, in Chicago, Ill. Second prize includes two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp being held March 20-23, in Washington, D.C. Participation prizes will also be awarded and will include two NCRA $50 vouchers/credits.

In addition, the individual reporter or captioner who participates in the greatest number of school, career day, guidance counselor convention presentations, VHP Days, and/or 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week events will win a grand prize of a complimentary registration to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo.

“This is a win/win effort for both the profession and those who participate. The public is afforded a firsthand look at the importance of what we do while the winners of this competition will enjoy some really great prizes,” Burzynski said.

Learn more about the NCSA Take Note state competition.