Could bilingual professional development opportunities shore up efforts by educational facilities departments to attract and retain skilled workers? A budding experiment in Texas, where Spanish speakers make up some 40 percent of the population, suggests so. In May, CAPPA (Central Region of APPA) sponsored its first bilingual (English and Spanish) Supervisor’s Toolkit, a three-day APPA professional-development program that advances the professional and personal growth of facilities supervisors. The debut offering, at Texas Tech Health Science Center in El Paso, attracted 32 attendees whose evaluations suggested a warm appetite for more bilingual programming in other parts of the country. Asked if they would recommend the toolkit, one attendee responded “absolutemente,” calling it a success that the field badly needs.
“There is a tendency to think of literacy as being binary, as being either/or,” said Glen Haubold, retired associate vice president of Facilities and Services at New Mexico State University and a bilingual Supervisor’s Toolkit instructor. “In fact, there are degrees of literacy in both reading and writing. One can speak English and still have stronger abilities in a second language, usually Spanish.”
Haubold added that the bilingual toolkit idea grew out of the realization that some supervisors were avoiding continuing education programs because they were uncomfortable with their English reading and writing skills. Having successfully recruited two excellent instructors who speak both English and Spanish, CAPPA is partnering with APPA to offer its next bilingual toolkit in spring of 2024 at APPA U in San Antonio, Texas. Registration opens January 9, 2024.
“Offering bilingual professional training allows CAPPA to reach a vast and integral population of professionals in the region and increases the pool of participants who may be seeking a professional cohort within CAPPA,” said Whitney Jibben, the assistant dean of students at Augustana University and CAPPA membership chair.
Stay tuned for more about CAPPA’s professional development programs in the Membership Matters column of the January/February 2024 Facilities Manager.