The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (“MassDevelopment”) Language Access Plan responds to the recognition by the Commonwealth Office of Access and Opportunity that language for non-English speakers and limited English proficient (“LEP”) individuals may pose a barrier to accessing important services or understanding other important information provided by MassDevelopment. Accordingly, the MassDevelopment Language Access Plan addresses the components of the Language Access Policy Implementation Guidelines, August 1, 2010 (the “Guidelines”) below.
As provided by Section IV(b)(1) of the Guidelines, MassDevelopment has designated Ellen Torres as its Language Access Coordinator.
The Guidelines require that each agency conduct a needs assessment addressing certain minimal actions. See Guidelines, Section IV(b)(2). As required by the Guidelines, MassDevelopment conducted a needs assessment of its agency based on the programs MassDevelopment administers. As required by the Guidelines, MassDevelopment’s assessment: (1) identifies the various services provided by the programs under MassDevelopment jurisdiction; (2) identifies the make-up of the population that is served by each MassDevelopment program; (3) identifies points of contact between MassDevelopment and the public and all potential language or language related barriers to MassDevelopment services; and (4) identifies existing staff who are able to deliver services in a language other than English.
I. Identify the various services provided by the programs under MassDevelopment jurisdiction.
MassDevelopment is the Commonwealth’s economic development and finance authority. MassDevelopment is committed to achieving three goals: stimulating business, driving economic growth, and helping communities thrive across Massachusetts. MassDevelopment’s work in finance and development impacts many facets of the Massachusetts economy in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Priorities include providing low-cost and creative financing options for a range of organizations, sustainably redeveloping surplus properties, transforming the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities, and promoting the Massachusetts manufacturing and defense sectors. MassDevelopment primarily interacts with municipal officials and employees and representatives of the for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations that seek its assistance.
The Investment Banking group at MassDevelopment issues tax exempt and taxable bonds on behalf of manufacturers, non-profits, affordable rental housing developments, for certain Commonwealth infrastructure financing programs and the PACE energy efficiency program. Tax credits for low income housing can accompany bond financings.
The Lending Department offers loans and loan guaranties to small businesses, non-profits, real estate development projects, emerging technology companies, exporters, charter schools.
The Community Development Department oversees grants to non-profit cultural facilities, community health centers, and municipalities and certain non-profits for Brownfields cleanup.
The Manufacturing Futures Program offers Innovation Grants to Massachusetts manufacturers, as well as grants to organizations that encourage training in manufacturing fields.
The New Markets Tax Credit Program offers federal tax credits to certain projects situated in low income census tracts.
MassDevelopment is responsible for the development of the community at the former Fort Devens into a sustainable and diverse mixed use community. It provides municipal functions for Devens.
In pursuit of its economic development mission, MassDevelopment purchases and redevelops properties across the Commonwealth, including Commonwealth surplus properties.
The Real Estate group provides technical assistance to communities across Massachusetts in assessing economic development projects.
The Real Estate group runs the Commonwealth Places program through which public or nonprofit sponsors can propose a community driven project that revitalizes downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. The program aims to engage and mobilize community members through crowdfunding.
The Transformative Development Initiative at MassDevelopment provides technical assistance to Gateway Cities, a fellows program through which a MassDevelopment employee works in a chosen Gateway district, and an equity investment program for such districts.
II. Identify the make-up of the population that is served by the agency with respect to those programs/functions.
MassDevelopment does not currently have internal data relative to the language needs of recipients of its various services. Many of our programs involve involvement with municipalities, non-profits and for-profit businesses. MassDevelopment does not run programs that directly assist individuals for their personal needs. MassDevelopment staff can encounter LEP individuals in connection with our loan programs that assist small businesses, our efforts in Transformative Development districts and our municipal role at Devens.
MassDevelopment staff will be trained to be aware of the need for language assistance and be equipped to offer language assistance. MassDevelopment’s Language Access Coordinator will track requests for assistance so that MassDevelopment may acquire better data on any language needs of its clients and can update its Language Access Plan accordingly.
In the absence of such data, as set forth in the Commonwealth Guidelines, MassDevelopment will use U.S. Census data as a starting point for assessment of language needs. This data indicates that Spanish should be a language of priority for MassDevelopment.
The attached table illustrates the Massachusetts LEP population as a percentage of total State population for the most frequent spoken languages based on the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5 year estimates:
Massachusetts is a highly diverse state in which numerous LEP households reside. According to data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey 5 year estimate, (2007-2011), 21.38% of all residents over the age of five speak a language other than English, and of those residents, 3.39% speak English “not well” or “not at all.”
According to U.S. Census Data, the most frequently spoken languages among the LEP population in the Commonwealth are Spanish, French Creole, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Mon-Khmer (Cambodian), and Vietnamese.
The following table illustrates the Massachusetts LEP population as a percentage of total State population for the most frequent spoken languages based on the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5 year estimates:
III. Identify all points of contact between the agency and the public and all potential language or language-related barriers to services and programs.
99 High Street, 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
33 Andrews Parkway
Devens, MA 01434
275 Martine Street, Suite 201
Fall River, MA 02723
Gloucester State Fish Pier
2 State Fish Pier
Gloucester, MA 01930
Joint Base Cape Cod
2816 Richardson Road
Buzzards Bay, MA 02542
370 Merrimack Street
Lawrence, MA 01843
1515 Hancock Street, 4th Floor
Quincy, MA 02169
1350 Main Street, Suite 1110
Springfield, MA 01103
89 Shrewsbury Street, Suite 300
Worcester, MA 01604
For a discussion of the language related barriers to programs please see Section II above.
IV. Identify existing staff who are able to deliver services in a language other than English.
MassDevelopment’s priority will be to have professional interpreters and translators. If we receive a request for language assistance, and have the time to access outside resources to assist with such a request, we will do so. We do not expect our language access needs to be so extensive that fiscal constraints will limit our ability to procure such assistance.
MassDevelopment will inquire about foreign language fluency in its hiring process and Human Resources will document what language skills employees possess so that this policy can be updated with such information. Resume screening committees will be informed that qualified job applicants who are bi or multi-lingual possess an important skill that MassDevelopment seeks.
MassDevelopment will use Commonwealth Contract PRF 63 to procure interpretation services as may be requested for any of its programs at no charge to the requesters. MassDevelopment has included notice in appropriate sections of its website that such language access is available.
MassDevelopment will use Commonwealth Contract PRF 63 to translate upon request its written materials into the different languages spoken by non-English speakers and the seeing impaired to whom it provides services– including translation of its website content when such access is requested. MassDevelopment has incorporated a language translator application on its website.
MassDevelopment will train its staff on the requirements and implementation of the Language Access Plan in conjunction with its Diversity Committee meetings.
MassDevelopment will also develop training materials on language access for LEP persons. These materials would also be provided to newly hired staff as part of the orientation process.
MassDevelopment will notify the public of the availability of language access services by publication of the availability of such language access on its website. MassDevelopment will include notification of language access services by posting notices in each of its six offices located in Boston, Springfield, Lawrence, Fall River, Worcester and Devens. As discussed above, MassDevelopment will train staff to be knowledgeable about our ability to provide language access and to refer anyone who requests such access to Ellen Torres, MassDevelopment 99 High Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02110, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-330-2000, who will coordinate the provision of interpreters and access to translated materials when needed.
Section IV(k) of the Guidelines requires that the agency’s plan include a system to periodically monitor the agency’s compliance with the Commonwealth’s Language Access Policy and Guidelines, as well as the need for any changes in the agency’s language access plan and protocol. MassDevelopment proposes to monitor compliance with the Language Access Plan on an annual basis by review at the President and CEO’s weekly meeting with his/her direct reports and hear or suggest changes at that time.
In the event a person wishes to file a complaint regarding an alleged violation of the MassDevelopment plan, he or she should file such complaint with the MassDevelopment Language Access Coordinator, Ellen Torres, who may be reached at MassDevelopment, 99 High Street, 11th Floor, Boston MA 02110, email email@example.com or, by telephone, at 617-330-2000.