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.