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An Innovative Approach to Occupational Spanish

Posted: January 9, 2014

Theresa DaBiere-Craig

The Center for Employer Services at Fulton-Montgomery Community College has recently received certification as an Official Registered Provider of Command Spanish®, Inc. which is the nation’s leading provider of occupational Spanish language and cross-cultural training. Unlike traditional Spanish classes that attempt to teach the whole language, this program utilizes techniques that teach specific occupational language. FM will be able to offer on-site, job-specific Spanish language and cross-cultural training in such diverse areas as health care, emergency services, law enforcement, education, construction, hospitality, banking, front office operations, warehousing, manufacturing and retail sales.

Since the programs are non-grammar based, the intent is to provide survival Spanish for beginners. A highly effective phonetic system allows immediate control of Spanish pronunciation. The training focuses on one-way communication techniques. The goal is to learn how to “say” things in Spanish by using direct commands and simple statements, so that employees can relay directions and important information.

In addition to learning commands and statements, participants also learn two types of control questions, which are designed to control potential responses and render them comprehensible. The first type of control question requires a “yes” or “no” response. For example: “Are you Diabetic?” The second type of control question is called a “screen question.” It is constructed to screen out all language other than a plausible response. For example: “What is your name?” The only plausible response would include a name or names. Learning to use these types of questions allows participants to engage in information gathering without the years of studying required to have open dialogue.

Training materials are developed and translated by a team of highly educated native speakers who are multi-national. The team includes Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Colombians, and Hondurans, who ensure that all the Spanish will be understood by all Spanish-speakers from any Spanish-speaking country. Classes will be taught by instructors who are certified to teach using the proven methods of these programs.

Programs are available for almost every occupation and are specific to hundreds of different professions. Programs can be further customized to the needs of each organization. No previous Spanish experience is necessary to benefit from the training. FM plans to roll out the program this year and is interested in hearing from organizations with a need for this type of training. For more information about these and other programs to help advance the skills of your workforce, contact The Center for Employer Services at (518) 424-9370 or email Theresa.Craig@fmcc.suny.edu.

Theresa DaBiere-Craig is the Outreach Representative for The Center for Employer Services at FM.

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