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Bridges to Freedom

Free Language Training For Bilingual Employees

Bridges to Freedom

View Final Report of this project (pdf).


The City will be offering FREE fluency courses to bilingual or language-proficient criminal justice employees, and other City personnel who interact with the criminal justice system.

Bridges to Freedom is a 4-month course meeting 2 hours per week. The course targets employees who are proficient in Spanish and/or Cantonese, focusing on improving legal and situational communication with limited-English proficient (LEP) clients that come through criminal justice system. Featuring engaging and practical hands-on scenarios encountered within one's daily work routine, this will be a great opportunity to improve and expand legal vocabulary and interviewing skills to better assist LEP clients.

Spanish Classes

Cantonese Classes

Day of Week:

Every Wednesday

Every Friday


March 10 – June 23, 2010

March 12 – June 25, 2010


10:00 am – 12:00 am


1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

10:00 am – 12:00 am


1:00 pm – 3:00 pm


City Hall, Room 371

City Hall, Room 371

Who can sign up? Adult Probation, DEM, District Attorney, Public Defender, Police, and Sheriff personnel. Other City personnel, such as client advocates, may also be eligible.

Are there prerequisites? Participants must have the equivalent of at least 2 years of college-level Spanish or Cantonese. It is recommended that Cantonese speakers also know how to read and write traditional characters.

What are the benefits of participation?

· Staff members will be better equipped to respond and provide services to clients.

· Departments will reduce dependence on telephonic translation, cutting costs for that service.

· Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion for their personnel files, and may qualify for premium pay.

· The 2006 Domestic Violence Victim Safety and Accountability Audit identified the lack of sufficient language competency among City personnel as a significant gap in the City's response to domestic violence. Bridges to Freedom will build the language capacity of your staff, directly and proactively addressing these findings.

How do I sign up? Please email by February 19, 2010 to sign up or get more information.

Classes will be filled on a rolling basis, so don't wait and miss out on your chance to attend this free training.


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