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Recruitment Information

Applications are now closed for the IRIS Project: CORE rural interpreter training.


For interpreter training candidates

The IRIS: CORE Initiative (Connections, Opportunities, Resources and Education) offers participants a dynamic, cohorted learning experience that will begin with a multi-day face-to-face training and orientation at UNC from June 23-29, 2024. The training is led and facilitated by the IRIS Project leadership team with small group breakout sessions supported by IRIS facilitators and mentors. Training, housing, most meals, and CEUs are free. A $550 travel allotment is provided 6-8 weeks after the face-to-face training.

The IRIS: CORE Initiative's free 9-month online training, encompassing both interpreting knowledge and skills, will be offered via a hybrid delivery system from August 2024-May 2025. After successful completion of the facilitated training and individual & group mentoring, each participant will then have an opportunity to engage in a 6-month induction experience.

Interpreter candidates must be:

  1. Deaf, Coda, and hearing working interpreters with 3 or more years of rural interpreting experience.
  2. Available for an in-person, weeklong training at UNC in Greeley, Colorado from June 23-29, 2024.
  3. Ready to begin a bilingual (ASL & written English) online training and have required technology for a hybrid synchronous/ asynchronous online delivery system.
  4. Available to commit to and complete ~300 hours of knowledge and skills training followed by ~150 hours of induction and professional experiences (1.5 year commitment from June 2024-December 2025).

Participants in IRIS's CORE Inititative during the summer of 2023.

IRIS Mentors Lianne Moccia, Alicia McClurkan, Michelle Rheault, Jeremy Quiroga, and Shawnda Lowe

discuss the concept of 'participant-led mentorship' with IRIS Meta Facilitator Donna Walker.

Information about IRIS CORE: Initiative

  • Skills Development: Language, Interpreting, & Induction

    IRIS stands for Improving Rural Interpreter Skills.

    " "Does IRIS focus specifically on language development? 

    No. IRIS believes that, for rural interpreters, most language growth is derived from immersion rather than overt instruction. As ASL is the language of the program, ASL development happens naturally via the program’s delivery and diverse collegial engagement enhancing one’s depth and range of the language.   

    If you are interested in furthering your knowledge in advanced applied language courses, such as linguistics with direct instruction, there are various open-source, self-paced courses available online. 

    " "How does the IRIS Project define interpreting skills?  

    Interpreting is defined as the act of conveying meaning between people who use signed and/or spoken languages (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, 2019). At IRIS, we recognize that the skills needed by a competent rural interpreter to convey meaning are complex. Throughout the program, the skills of focus include the ability to  

    • Center diverse deaf perspectives in interpreting work 
    • Recognize systematic barriers inherent in interpreting work  
    • Demonstrate the ability to engage in collegial discussion 
    • Extrapolate one's own interpreting work apart from the person 
    • Analyze the ways to achieve message equivalence  
    • Reflect upon factors impacting decision-making while interpreting  


    Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. (2019). 2019 National conference business meeting results - C2019.14. Retreived from https://rid.org/business-meeting-videos-timestamps/

    " " What is IRIS Induction?  

    Upon successful completion of the 9-month IRIS: CORE Initiative, participants will be invited to further their development via the IRIS Induction experience.

  • Participation

    " " Who can apply to be a part of IRIS?   

    Working ASL/English Deaf, Coda, and hearing interpreters who live and work in rural areas. All applicants must:

    1. have 3 or more years of professional interpreting experience,
    2. have experience living and interpreting in rural settings, and
    3. are able to attend the weeklong face-to-face session at UNC.

    " " If I work only in a K-12 setting is IRIS the right program for me?  

    Unfortunately not. As a Rehabilitation Services Administration grant, the IRIS project is limited to admitting only rural generalist interpreters. This means an interpreter who works in a variety of community-based settings. This can include K-12, however, cannot be the only setting. If you are a rural interpreter who exclusively specializes in K-12 educational interpreting work, we suggest that you check out another grant-based training program: the Preparing School Interpreters Project.

    " " I see 13 states listed as IRIS priority, if I don't live in one of those states can I still apply?  

    Yes. The 13 identified states are a focus for IRIS however we encourage all motivated applicants to apply. IRIS is open to people who live in every US state and territory. For those who reside outside of the US states and territories, we plan to offer a self-directed training that will be open to all. Additionally, all of our training materials and curricula will be open source and available free of charge at the end of the grant in 2026. Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook for additional opportunities as they arise.

    " " Is this the only chance I have to apply?  

    The last cohort will begin in the Summer of 2024.  If you are interested in the IRIS: CORE Initiative, be sure to subscribe to IRIS via email and on Facebook to get information about the application as soon as it is available.

    " " Does this program focus on certification?  

    No. There are various certifications available in the field of sign language interpreting (i.e. BEI, CDI, EIPA, NIC, etc…). Honing in on one type of certification is not the focus of the IRIS Project. However, the topics covered throughout the IRIS Project will enhance your overall understanding of the task of interpreting. Should you be interested in focusing your professional development on a particular type of certification, we suggest you check out the following resources:

    From the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI): 

  • Time Commitment

    " " Is the time commitment really 10-15 hours per week?  

    Yes. The IRIS: CORE Initiative is designed to be an intensive program providing 300 hours of rural interpreter training and 150 hours of induction experience. This program will take 10-15 hours per week. These hours include reading, viewing lectures, responding to colleagues, submitting assignments, and attending synchronous sessions. Some weeks will require 15 hours a week of work, while other weeks are less than 10. This will depend on your familiarity with the nature of the content, module by module. This training may not fit into your life as you currently are living it. Reprioritization of your time will be required for the successful participation and completion of this project.  

    " " When are the synchronous meetings (i.e., Zoom), and are they required? 

    The synchronous sessions will happen at least 4 times per month, in approximately 2-hour increments, with your community of learning and are required. These meetings will happen with fellow IRIS participants and facilitators from across the country. While working across various time zones, the IRIS Project will make every attempt to have the meetings at a reasonable time and duration for participants to attend. Sessions will be announced well in advance so that arrangements can be made in your schedule to attend.  

  • Technology

    " " What technology is required?  

    This program uses Canvas, GoReact, and Zoom as tools for online learning. These programs require access to a reliable computer, laptop, and/or tablet with the following:   

    • An operating system of Windows 7 and up or Mac OSX (current or most recent previous version) 
    • The following web browsers: Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox (most current version) 
    • A stable internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) 
    • A webcam or HD webcam - built-in or USB plug-in 

    Smartphones and Chromebooks are not conducive to this requirement.   

    " " How is IRIS supporting rural interpreters who struggle with stable internet connections?  

    Stable internet access can be challenging when living in a rural area. The IRIS Project is committed to providing support to our participants so that they may benefit from virtual learning. While IRIS CORE is an online program we have included the following approaches and tools in the program to better meet the needs of rural interpreters:   

    IRIS Programming & Design: 

    • Cohorted learning. All IRIS participants, facilitators, mentors, and staff are interpreters living and working in rural areas. This collegial network will naturally create systems of support sharing ideas and solutions for sustaining engagement in virtual learning. 
    • Assignment flexibility. Due dates are guidelines, not hard deadlines. The IRIS Project staff, facilitators, and mentors will engage with participants to ensure participants are connected by creating individualized agreements for when assignments can be completed should internet connectivity be a barrier to completing coursework.  
    • Advance notice. The IRIS Project provide advance notice of all synchronous sessions so that individual arrangements can be made to connect online.  

    IRIS Course Content:  

    • Module by Module PowerPoints. Every module has a downloadable PowerPoint that can be printed or saved on a personal computer for reading at a later time without an internet connection. 
    • Downloadable ePub Export.Viewing the content via an eReader is another way to view the content of the modules offline without an internet connection.   

    UNC Supported Wireless Internet: 

    • EduRoam. UNC provides a secure WIFI option called EduRoam which allows login access to other partnering institutions and businesses' WiFi networks. Downloading the EduRoam app on your smartphone will show you where EduRoam is available and has linked directions on how to get there.  

    Bonus: Ready for an upgrade?

    As an IRIS participant, you will be eligible for discounted technology and services:  

    " " Even with all the above support from UNC-IRIS, I know my internet is too unreliable. Should I still apply? 

    Internet disparity in rural areas is real. With as many supports and tools we can provide, the IRIS Project realizes that there are still interpreters who are unable to access the IRIS: CORE Initiative program in the ways that are technologically required. The IRIS Project will, however, be producing content (i.e. self-directed modules, recorded webinars, and publications) that will be available at no cost as produced over the life of the grant here on our website. While this content is available online it will require no synchronous sessions and can be done on your own time, at your own pace. Additionally, all of the IRIS: CORE Initiative content will be available open-source and at no cost at the end of the grant (2026).

  • Onsite Training

    " "What are the housing accommodations like?  

    All IRIS participants will be staying in UNC's North Hall, which is air conditioned and has an elevator. Each participant will be assigned to a shared suite with private sleeping rooms, a shared common space, and a shared bathroom. See a sample 2-person suite layout here.

    All alternate rooming requests will be considered case by case after the application and acceptance process is complete. 

    " " Are meals included?  

    The IRIS Project will provide breakfast and lunch while onsite. IRIS will inquire about all dietary needs after the application and acceptance process is complete.

    " " What grocery stores are near UNC?  

  • Travel

    " " Do I have to make my own travel arrangements? 

    Yes. Once you have been accepted into the program begin to research your travel options to and from the University of Northern Colorado 501 20th St. Greeley, CO 80639.

     " "Does IRIS provide a travel allotment for the onsite event? 

    Yes. Participants who complete the onsite orientation will also be given a $550 allotment to help defray travel costs to and from Greeley, Colorado depending on their home location. The allotment will not be provided until 6-8 weeks after being onsite.

    " "What if I need additional sponsorship to travel onsite?

    Some participants may require sponsorship to defray the costs of traveling onsite and stepping away from paid and unpaid work. Here are some resources that may help:

    " " Where is the closest airport? 

    Denver International Airport (DEN) is the closest airport to UNC. Additionally, there is a fee for service shuttle from Denver International Airport to UNC. Alternatively, you can rent a car from the airport or utilize Turo. All IRIS participants will need to make all travel arrangements on their own.  

2024 Cost Comparison for IRIS CORE: Initiative

UNC Bear Mascot

The IRIS Project will cover...

I need to cover...


  • $550 allotment to help defray costs of airfare, ground transportation, luggage, missed work, etc.
  • All travel costs


  • During onsite dates
  • Private room in a shared suite in UNC's North Hall
  • Before & after onsite dates


  • 5 catered breakfasts
  • 5 catered lunches
  • Meals, snacks, & dinners


  • 40 hours onsite
  • 260 hours online
  • N/A


  • 26.5 RID PS CEUs (estimated)
  • 2.0 RID PPO CEUs (estimated)
  • N/A


(e.g. webcams, laptops, tablets, etc.)

  • N/A
  • Provide your own devices (onsite & online)
  • Potential loaner devices for onsite with advanced notice

Internet Access

  • Free WiFi on campus
  • Provide your own high speed internet
  • See Technology (above) possible solutions to accessing reliable internet

Learning Platforms

(e.g. GoReact, Zoom, Canvas, etc.)

  • Provides access to all learning platforms
  • N/A

Grant Recognition

The contents of this website were developed under a grant (H160D210006) from the Department of Education. HD160D210006 (University of Northern Colorado) IRIS Project - Improving Rural Interpreter Skills was one of several interpreter training projects to receive funding under Assistance Listing Number (ALN) 84.160D: 2021-2026. IRIS was awarded under Specialty Area 5, field initiated, in the topic area of improving rural interpreting skills.

The contents of the IRIS Project website does not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474).

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