Tri-C annual open house boosts summer enrollment

The court reporting and captioning professions captivated attendees at the annual open house held April 25 by Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cuyahoga, Ohio. Sponsored by the college’s court reporting and captioning program, the event drew 75 attendees wanting to know more about the career choice and benefits.

Stefanie Sweet, a current student enrolled in Tri-C’s court reporting and captioning program, shares some insight into campus life and educational curriculum with open house attendees.

Stefanie Sweet, a current student enrolled in Tri-C’s court reporting and captioning program, shares some insight into campus life and educational curriculum with open house attendees.

According to Kelly Moranz, CRI, Tri-C’s program manager, attendees got an overview of the court reporting and captioning professions, including information about various work venues, earning potential, flexibility, and the college’s program. Attendees then embarked on a speed networking activity that allowed them to ask faculty, professionals, and current students more about available career opportunities, campus life, and scholarships.

“The opening comments were captioned remotely and put onto a large-screen monitor to demonstrate how captioning works,” said Moranz. “Overall, the open house resulted in numerous inquiries about how to get started, and there has been an increased enrollment in our summer introductory courses.”

Other topics addressed during the speed networking activity included a brief overview of the theory of steno, the importance of good English and grammar skills required by court reporters, examples of real-life experiences shared by professionals currently working in the field, and the chance to try writing on an actual machine.

NCRA members shares their role in judicial system with homeschool students

JCR logoNCRA members Cyndi Larimer and Mindie Baab recently explained their jobs as official court reporters as part of a mock trial that a handful of National Home School students participated in. The mock trial was included in an article posted by the Claremore Daily Progress, Claremore, Okla., on March 31.

Read more.

Court reporting firm launches campaign to highlight need for professionals to fill jobs

JCR logoDepo International launched a nationwide marketing campaign to raise awareness about the need for court reporters and captioners to fill jobs, according to a press release issued April 20.

Read more.

NCRA members show off skills for second year at local career fair

Reston Career FairArmed with machines, flyers, and posters, NCRA members Darlene Parker, FAPR, RPR, and Steve Clark, CRC, presented for the second year in a row at a career fair held at South Lakes High School in Reston, Va., on March 23. Parker, a broadcast captioner, is the director of steno captioning and realtime relations for the National Captioning Institute in Chantilly, Va., and Clark, a CART captioner, is the manager of Home Team Captions in Washington, D.C.

Approximately 600 sophomores at the school wandered through the career fair held in the cafeteria, visiting tables that included representatives from an array of professions, including law enforcement, health, education, and veterinary care. Students who stopped by the court reporting and captioning table often were three deep, captivated by Clark’s realtime demonstration.

“I was happy to have Steve Clark join me again this year to provide realtime for the event at South Lakes High School. The kids were fascinated watching his realtime,” said Parker. “There was one kid who tested Steve by mentioning every fruit he could think of. We were waiting for the standard test of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but it never came.”

The duo first participated in the school’s career day in 2016. Parker, whose son was a junior at the time there, read about the event and contacted the faculty who were organizing it. Both Parker and Clark said participating in the event again this year was just as rewarding as the last time.

“The Career Day at South Lakes High School was an excellent opportunity to showcase court reporting, broadcast captioning, and CART captioning. The fast-paced event kept students moving from table to table, almost like career speed dating,” said Clark.

“This year we had a steady flow of students who listened to Darlene Parker’s explanation of what a court reporter and captioner does while I wrote what she said. Students were amazed to see their words appearing on tablets within a second of being spoken,” he added.

Students were also excited to learn that Clark is the official stadium captioner for the Washington Redskins football team, the Nationals baseball team, the Capitals hockey team, and teams from several area colleges.

Annemarie Roketenetz, NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications, also attended the event. Roketenetz would “snag” the kids, especially those wearing sports-related clothing, and ask them if they liked sports.

“Then I would explain how terrific of a profession court reporting and captioning is and how the machine worked. I enumerated that it can be done with just an associate’s degree, the many different types of venues one can work in, the flexibility, and the potential for an excellent income,” Parker explained.

Parker reached out to NCRA again this year for materials. She also consulted the Association’s website for helpful handouts, including fun facts. She said it’s important to point out to students how the machine works and the many different venues court reporters and captioners can work in. She also suggests highlighting the need for people to enter the field, as some professionals are reaching retirement age. She also shares with students what CART captioners do, mentioning that most positions offer a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. She tells students that it is a great profession for those who like words and technology, and that it’s two to three years of schooling for an excellent salary and a rewarding career.

Parker is currently making plans to highlight the profession next month at the middle school located next to South Lakes High School where she and other volunteers will present for 35 minutes to two separate classes.

“I urge everyone to reach out to your local high schools and school districts. It is fun to participate in these events to promote our great profession to these young people, who are our future,” she said.

“These career day events are incredibly important and rewarding. Every NCRA member should get out into the community and share his or her talents in order to draw more students into this field,” added Clark.

NCRA members who are interested in presenting at career fairs have a variety of resources available from the Association. The Resource Center at DiscoverSteno.com has fliers, posters, a PowerPoint presentation, and a promotional video (both generic and customizable for a specific program, etc.).

Members may also find value in the resources at NCRA.org/Awareness.These materials are focused on Court Reporting & Captioning Week, but members can adapt them for other promotional purposes or to use them to find ideas for highlighting court reporting and captioning.

Members who do participate in career fairs or any other promotional activities are encouraged to contact Roketenetz at aroketenetz@ncra.org for possible inclusion in the JCR or JCR Weekly. Keep in mind that any photos will likely need to hide any identifying features of minors, especially faces.

PROMOTING THE PROFESSION: Leading by example

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Stanley Sakai and Isaiah Roberts at Oswego East High School

Isaiah Roberts, an official reporter working for the judicial circuit court in Illinois, was asked by his cousin, a director at Oswego East High School in the Chicago suburbs, to come and talk about his job. He invited his friend, Stanley Sakai, CRC, a captioner based in New York City, who was going to be in town, to join him for the presentation. The duo shared their similar skills and different paths with the high school students during their visit, and they garnered a lot of attention from the students, with several staying afterwards to ask questions of the two young men. The JCR asked them to tell us more about their experience.

JCR | How did the presentation go?

IR | When we got there, Stanley and I both set up our Lightspeed writers and laptops so the students could get a closer look at our machines. As I would talk with the students and answer their questions, Stanley would write everything that was being said, thereby showing the students firsthand exactly how realtime writing worked. This was one of the biggest highlights in our presentations, as the students were amazed to see every word they were speaking show up wirelessly on an iPad.

SS | Since Isaiah is a courthouse official and I am a captioner, I thought that, together, we would make a great team in that the students would have exemplars of two contrasting stenographic professionals.

JCR | What was the message you delivered to the students?

IR | We were able to explain the differences between someone who is a court reporter, such as myself, and someone is a CART captioner like Stanley. We were fortunate in this regard to be able to show some of the vastly different career options that were possible by being a stenographer. While some students liked the idea of being in a courtroom every day, some were intrigued by the fact that they could be paid to caption a sports game or that they didn’t have to have an 8-5 schedule.

SS |We made it clear to the students that an investment in a stenographic career is one of great prospects and flexibility. Whether it is the predictable stability of a 9-5 or the fast-paced hustle of the freelance life you desire, you can make this career path fit your needs and schedule.

JCR |Why was it important for you to make this visit?

SS | It is important for us to reach out and spread the word about this career because of the public’s general lack of awareness around the court reporting and captioning fields. As a captioner who works in many different capacities, I can attest that most people have no idea what I mean when I say I produce live captioning for tech conferences or provide CART for students. I frequently get confused looks by onlookers when I explain to them that practically none of what I am doing is automated when I inevitably get my favorite on-the-job question: “What speech/voice recognition software are you using? It’s so good!”

There is widespread misunderstanding regarding the value, long-term viability, and the earning potential of stenographic professions, so it’s imperative that we, especially as younger representatives in an aging field, do all that we can to educate and inspire those who will be soon choosing their career paths.

JCR |What were some of the questions/comments students had for you?

SS |The questions we got ran the gamut from typical salary ranges, to hours worked per week, to working conditions. We were surprised at how genuinely curious the students were at such a young age!

IR | A lot of the questions we received were questions such as, “How much schooling does it take?” or “How are you possibly able to write that fast?” Stanley and I both shared our own personal experiences, expressing that while the learning process is difficult, the career is well worth it.

I brought with me some promotional items and pamphlets from the current court reporting programs offered in Illinois. While many of the students seemed interested, there were multiple students who talked to us afterwards expressing that they think it might be a great career option for them.

JCR |What do you think the students gained from you visit?

SS | I think the greatest benefit the students gained from our visit other than hearing from two different professionals was witnessing the live demo. As Isaiah spoke, I transcribed him in realtime, sending the text to an iPad. We also let the students try out our machines. The “wow factor” of watching Isaiah’s words appear on the screen and the tactile aspect of touching our equipment really helped spark their interest and demonstrate our work in a concrete way.

Court reporters talk of shortage, try to recruit more

jcr-publications_high-resChannel WSAW reported on Feb. 15 that the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association is holding a series of open houses across the state in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The goal is to convince more people to go into the profession.

Read more.

NCRA launches DiscoverSteno initiative

DiscoverSteno_logo_webIn conjunction with 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA has announced the launch of DiscoverSteno, a multi-pronged Web-based initiative that offers anyone interested the opportunity to explore, consider, and learn more about a career in court reporting or captioning.

“Court reporting and captioning are professions that so often fall under the radar when someone is looking for an exciting and flexible career option,” said NCRA President Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa.

“DiscoverSteno is aimed at pushing awareness about these career fields above the radar, especially for high school students, career changers, veterans seeking to re-enter the workforce, and even college students who find their major course of studies is not what they expected it to be. Those who choose a career in court reporting or captioning very often enter the workforce quicker than those who take the traditional college path and oftentimes at less cost,” she added.

NCRA’s DiscoverSteno initiative comprises several components designed to provide visitors to the site a comprehensive overview of court reporting and captioning as a viable and rewarding career. Among the sections is ExploreSteno, which offers a series of short modules including testimonials from current students and working professionals, the history of stenography, how it works, and what it feels like to write it.

By clicking on ConsiderSteno, visitors to the DiscoverSteno site can take an interest survey to find out if they possess traits similar to those of a successful court reporter or captioner.

For visitors interested in learning the basics of writing in steno, LearnSteno lets them contact NCRA to find out how they can participate in a free, six-to-eight week A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program either in their area or online.

Developed by Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass., a past NCRA President and longtime court reporter and firm owner, the introductory program offers the perfect opportunity for participants to learn the alphabet in steno, write on a real machine, and decide if pursuing an education in court reporting or captioning is the right choice. Working professionals will lead the A to Z program in their offices.

“The A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program not only provides participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in learning the basics of steno writing at no cost, but it also provides NCRA members an easy and fun way to share what they do and why they love what they do with potential future professionals,” said Varallo. “The program is structured to allow A to Z leaders to really highlight the benefits of the profession and perhaps become a mentor to a future colleague.”

Visitors to the DiscoverSteno site can also get a firsthand look at the venues in which court reporters and captioners work by clicking on WatchSteno. The video features real professionals sharing why they love the profession. In addition, they can contact NCRA to learn more about its certified schools and their programs.

“NCRA is excited to launch the DiscoverSteno initiative and is committed to the future growth of the court reporting and captioning professions,” said Mike Nelson, CAE, CEO and Executive Director of NCRA. “DiscoverSteno is designed to help educate those interested in one of these career paths to learn more about the field, job opportunities, test their aptitude, and have the resources such as finding the right court reporting and captioning program at their fingertips.”

Challenges, contests, prizes, and fun under way for Court Reporting & Captioning Week

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Medal for TCRA’s virtual run celebrating the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

As NCRA members, court reporting students, schools, and others get ready for the start of the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being celebrated Feb. 11-18, a number of challenges and contests offering some hefty prizes have been issued across the nation.

NCRA’s Student Committee has challenged court reporting students to transcribe as many tests as possible during the week to qualify for a prize. Under the contest’s rules, participants do not have to pass the tests, simply transcribe them. The first-place winner will be awarded a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide. The second-place winner will receive a choice of a one-year student membership to the Association or one leg of the RPR Skills Test. The third-place winner will earn a $25 Starbucks gift card. Winners will be announced in the Feb. 22 issue of the JCR Weekly.

Students taking the challenge will be required to submit a test verification form, signed by both the student and a teacher.

The Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) is sponsoring Off the Record and On the Run, a virtual run being held Feb. 1-28, in celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Anyone can participate, according to Beth Faulk, TCRA’s executive director. The event is expected to generate not only awareness and support of the court reporting profession but to also offer a healthy social outlet for court reporters who want to get together and have fun with their friends, Faulk explained.

The cost to register is $25. Participants who run 5k, 10k, or a half marathon will receive a four-inch retro style writing machine medal adorned with a ribbon that reads “AUF T RORD.” All proceeds will benefit TCRA to help it continue to provide quality education, advocacy, and services to its members.

“Those who signed up first have already started receiving their medals and love them! Various reporters and groups are organizing to conduct their runs and walks all together at different parks and locations during National Court Reporting & Captioning Week,” Faulk said She noted that since it is a virtual run, participants can even compete on a treadmill.

Although participants are encouraged to submit their finish time, they are not required to do so to receive their medal. Additional information and registration for the event is can be found at Virtualstrides.com.

The friendly challenged issued by NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) is also heating up. 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, or host a Veterans History Project events to celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Members of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association (PCRA) will be conducting three Veterans History Project interviews at local restaurants, including at one site in New Jersey. Julie Wilson, a PCRA district director said the association has both freelance and official court reporters from Chester, Bucks, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties volunteering to interview and transcribe the stories of the veteran participants.

The winner of the 2016 NCSA challenge, Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, said members in her city have already participated in 18 school demonstrations and have an additional eight more planned for later in the spring. Uviedo plans to exceed last year’s number of 26 school demonstrations to once again earn NCSA’s top honors.

The competition for the NCSA challenge closes Feb. 18. Anyone participating in a qualifying event 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 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 how you celebrate.

NCRA showcases profession at record-breaking conference of school counselors

NCRA exhibits at the American School Counselors Association's conference

NCRA exhibits at the American School Counselors Association’s conference

This year marked the third consecutive time NCRA has exhibited at the American School Counselors Association’s conference and the first year the event drew a record number of attendees. Cynthia Bruce Andrews, Director of Professional Development Programs for NCRA, represented the Association at the ASCA event, which also drew a record 154 exhibitors when it was held July 9-12 in New Orleans, La.

“The ASCA conference was well attended this year with almost 3,000 people present,” said Andrews. “I had more than 500 people come to my table, and I brought back more than 280 contacts,” she said. “Schools are really interested in us attending their career days. Visitors to the NCRA booth clearly recognized what hidden professional gems court reporting and captioning are.”

ASCA supports school counselors’ efforts to help students focus on academic, career, and social/emotional development so they can achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society. The organization provides professional development, publications, and other resources, as well as advocacy to professional school counselors around the globe.

Stenography on display

By Paulette Cox

“Have you seen a man skillful at his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before common man.” – Proverbs 22:29

I often feel this way on my assignments, and that’s the idea I tried to convey to students at the Annual Career and College Fair in Winslow Township, N.J., on May 27.

Students stop by to see more about court reporting at a table at the Annual Career and College Fair in New Jersey.

Students stop by to see more about court reporting at a table at the Annual Career and College Fair in New Jersey.

The very enthusiastic students and even teachers were excited to see their spoken words on the computer screen. One third-grade teacher said, “I have to take a picture of that.”

This year I was joined by Cherilyn McCollum, RPR, the president of the Certified Court Reporters Association of New Jersey (CCRA-NJ), who graciously wrote the students’ names on steno paper so that they could keep it as a souvenir.

Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR, who holds the Guinness World Record as the fastest writer and is no stranger to this part of south Jersey, sent a videotaped message on the basics of writing on a steno machine. He also gave a glimpse of the various types of machines that are used today.

Veritext and CCRA-NJ provided goodies for the students, and I sent out a very special thanks to them for their support.

More than 300 students participated in the event, which featured other professionals such as engineers, pilots, teachers, medical professionals, social workers, police officers, journalists, and photographers, among a host of others.

Paulette Cox is a freelance reporter from Sicklerville, N.J. She can be reached at plttknigh39@gmail.com.