Increased demand for CART prompts course to help achieve realtime

An increase in the demand for CART services in the Chicago, Ill., metro area recently prompted MacCormac College last fall to launch a course geared toward working reporters and graduates of NCRA-certified court reporting programs wanting to transition to realtime or achieve realtime certification.

“There has been increased demand for CART services in the Chicagoland area,” says the college’s court reporting program director Margaret Sokalski-Dorchack. “Also, official court reporters can move up in salary if they attain realtime certification. Some judicial reporters are looking to transition into CART and captioning.”

Funded by a five-year grant the college received from the U.S. Department of Education’s Training for Realtime Writers grant program, which is part of the Higher Education Affordability Act, MacCormac’s program has attracted attendees with experience ranging from 10 to 20 years of professional reporting, Dorchack notes.

When the program first began, it was conducted over three semesters and included six classes of three hours each for a total of 270 clock hours, she explains. However, based on feedback from the students and the court reporting community, the program was revised and is now being offered as a continuing education program consisting of three modules of 40 hours.

“The first module focuses on improving realtime writing. The second module continues work on improving realtime writing and includes specific instruction on CART. The third module continues work on improving realtime writing and includes specific instruction on captioning,” Dorchack says.

“The students have been enthusiastic and grateful for the program. The courses are designed to help students attain realtime certification. It wasn’t promoted as a prep course specifically. However, it could help to improve speed for realtime certification.”

According to Kathy A. Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC, from Crown Point, Ind., a court reporter with 30 years of experience who has also provided CART and captioning services for 20 years, the course offered by MacCormac is especially useful for reporters who want to spend less time editing out errors, reduce conflicts, improve accuracy, compete in NCRA’s realtime contest, or just plain improve their skills.

“I actually would like to learn how to be a better teacher,” Cortopassi says. She anticipates that having taken the class will help her to achieve her Certified Realtime Instructor certification.

“These classes are intense and focused. One student lowered her untrans rate by 1 percent, which is amazing when you get closer to the 100 percent accuracy rate. She was so happy and proud of her accomplishment and motivated to keep on working on her writing, to improve further, and learn more.”

According to Dorchack, the college plans to offer the realtime-focused course again in 2016. For more information, contact Natasha Meeajane, director of communications, at nmeeajane@maccormac.edu.

Realtime writers grant program up for reauthorization

On Nov. 20, Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced the Higher Education Affordability Act, a bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act and includes funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Training for Realtime Writers grant program. The grant program contained in the original law was approved due to a legislative campaign NCRA launched and supported throughout multiple legislative cycles. Since the first Act took effect, NCRA has helped court reporting schools secure more than $16 million in Training for Realtime Writers grants, typically used by recipients to upgrade equipment and facilities and enhance program curriculum.

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U.S. Department of Education awards four court reporting schools grants

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $266,175 each in grants to Prince Institute in Illinois, Huntington Junior College in West Virginia, Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio, and the Community Col­lege of Allegheny in Pennsylvania. The funding is part of the Training for Realtime Writers grants under the Higher Education Act passed by Congress in 2009.

The grant program was, in part, approved due to a legislative campaign NCRA launched and supported throughout multiple legislative cycles. Since the Act took effect, NCRA has helped court reporting schools secure more than $16 million in Training for Realtime Writers grants.

The schools will use the grants to make improvements to their programs, recruitment of new students, secure scholarship opportunities, and equipment upgrades.

“The Training for Realtime Writers grants are vital to ensuring training and job placement for realtime writ­ers who provide court reporting, closed captioning, and services to the deaf and hard of hearing public,” said Glyn Poage, RDR, CRR, a member of NCRA’s board of directors.

  • Prince Institute – Great Lakes, IL
  • Cuyahoga Community College, OH
  • Huntington Junior College, WV
  • Community College of Allegheny County, PA