College Board Approves GEAR UP Grant and Interpreting Services Contract

College Board Approves GEAR UP Grant and Interpreting Services Contract

ROCK SPRINGS — The Western Wyoming Community College Board of Trustees accepted a GEAR UP grant in the amount of $501,255 during its meeting Thursday night.

The GEAR UP grant is renewed and reapproved annually based upon successful progress of the program and use of the grant dollars. Western was granted continued approval from the state GEAR UP Grant Manger and the Federal Program Officer. This the seventh year of a seven-year grant cycle.

The program serves students from seventh grade through the first year of college and focuses on comprehensive mentoring, financial-aid and advising, academic planning, and career counseling. Western continues to be the largest GEAR UP program in Wyoming, serving hundreds of students every year across the college’s five-county service area.

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The Board of Trustees also approved a contract with DeafIS, LLC as a sole source contract to provide sign language interpreting services not to exceed $90,000. Western is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide effective communication to individuals with disabilities, and since September, DeafIS has provided on-site and virtual ASL interpreting services to a student who requested and qualifies for this accommodation.

According to Western, this is a sole source contract based on the past attempts to use multiple nationwide interpreting companies that were unsuccessful due to technology requirements, scheduling, coordination requirements, and an unsuccessful local search for a qualified individual to provide on-site interpreting.

The final cost of interpreting services for Fall 2023 is estimated to be over $50,000, as there are additional and evolving expenses related to technology, student club and event participation, and lodging and per diem rates. This contract will be in effect for the remainder of the fall 2023 semester and continue through spring 2024.