STARTALK Career Pathways for Heritage Language Learners: Developing Vision & Building Capacity

Over the next few years, STARTALK, a federal critical-need language learning initiative, is piloting an expansion of its traditional summer-only instructional model to a program that focuses on year-round outreach, with an added federal workforce development component to inspire students to pursue language careers.

To meet this challenge, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) was awarded a multi-year grant to create publicly accessible web-based resources that highlight U.S. federal government career pathways for heritage language learners in high school through college.

The 2-year, $200,000 project called “Career Pathways for Heritage Language Learners: Developing Vision & Building Capacity,” will offer engaging career-focused resources for learners of 5 critical-need languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Russian. The resources will feature a series of video interviews with federal workers and a series of podcasts on essential topics related to language learning and pursuing a government career, supported by user guides and interactive web content. Through this project, CAL will provide language programs and students, particularly heritage language learners, with resources that highlight future federal government career opportunities and ways to build on students’ own language and cultural assets in order to reach their goals.

STARTALK is a project funded by the National Security Agency. STARTALK’s mission is to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical-need foreign languages, with programs for students (K-16) and teachers. STARTALK offers students and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development.

About the Project

Funder: National Security Agency
July 2021 – 2023