ERIC Number: ED464486
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Foreign Languages: Human Capital Approach Needed To Correct Staffing and Proficiency Shortfalls. Report to Congressional Requesters.
Christoff, Joseph A.
This report examines the use of foreign language skills within the Army, Department of State, Department of Commerce's Foreign Commercial Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, discussing the nature and impact of foreign language shortages, strategies for addressing these shortages, and efforts to address current and projected shortages. All four agencies reported shortages of translators, interpreters, diplomats, and intelligence specialists with foreign language skills critical to successful job performance. These shortfalls adversely affected agency operations and hindered military, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and diplomatic efforts. Many shortages were in hard-to-learn Middle Eastern and Asian languages. Shortages varied by agency, occupation, and language. Agencies used many workforce strategies to fill their foreign language needs (providing staff with language training, paying incentives, recruiting employees with foreign language skills, and using information technology). One agency adopted a strategic approach to workforce planning that links the foreign language program to the agency's strategic objectives and program goals. The other agencies have yet to pursue overall strategic planning. Seven appendixes present: research details; human capital management and workforce planning guidance; comments from the Army, Department of State, Foreign Commercial Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation; and General Accounting Office contact and staff acknowledgements. (SM)
Descriptors: Adult Learning, Federal Government, Human Capital, Interpreters, Language Proficiency, Language Skills, Military Personnel, Second Language Learning, Translation
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013. Tel: 202-512-6000; Fax: 202-512-6061. For full text: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02375.pdf.
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.