In a move towards greater inclusivity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a comprehensive language access plan. This plan is a response to the increasing need for equitable access to USDA resources and programs by individuals with limited English proficiency.
Released on the anniversary of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland's language access memorandum, the plan is a key part of USDA's broader effort to make its programs more accessible and inclusive.
Tom Vilsack highlighted the significance of this initiative, stating that the plan will help make USDA's services more equitable and accessible. The plan involves all USDA mission areas and staff in providing timely and accurate communications to non-English speakers and ensuring compliance with federal civil rights regulations.
Dr. Penny Brown Reynolds, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at USDA, emphasized the importance of language access as a team effort. The plan includes a range of comprehensive mechanisms to ensure equity, such as stakeholder engagement, fund allocation, service delivery, and staff training.
The language access plan is based on the principle that the responsibility for ensuring meaningful access lies with USDA, not with individuals seeking services. The plan is available on the USDA website and on LEP.gov, a site maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
The USDA is also set to join the Federal Language Access Working Group, spearheaded by the Department of Justice. This collaboration among federal agencies aims to exchange best practices and share resources, further enhancing language accessibility in federal programs and services.
This initiative marks a significant step in USDA's commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where all individuals, regardless of their language proficiency, can access vital services and programs. Source : wisconsinagconnection