The federal government would get $20 million to train closed-captioners for television broadcasts under a bill approved by the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday.
The money is needed, says sponsor Ernest Holllings, D-S.C., because the country has only 10% of the 3,000 captioners needed to help stations fulfill their requirement to caption all broadcasts for the hard of hearing by 2006.
The training funds would be issued through competitive grants to schools by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In addition to classroom training, the funds can be used for curriculum development, student recruitment, scholarships, distance learning, and job placement.
"With this legislation we hope to finally be able to bridge the communications gap that challenges the many Americans with disabilities," said Sen. Hollings. A companion measure has been introduced in the House of Representatives.