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2 Demand for Foreign Language, Area, and International Expertise M any of the controversies surrounding the Title VI and Fulbright- Hays (Title VI/FH) programs revolve around the extent to which there is unmet need for foreign language and area experts in the federal government and the role that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) programsâparticularly the Title VI programsâshould play in helping to meet this need. In fact, one of the key areas identified by Congress for the committeeâs review is the performance of the programs in âreducing shortages of foreign language and area experts.â This chapter provides a context for the discussion of that key area in Chapter 6. We begin with a brief discussion of issues related to defining an oc- cupational âshortageâ and reasons why the committee uses the terms âde- mandâ or âshortagesâ as an alternative. We then present an overview of demand in the context of foreign languages, area studies, and international knowledge, which acknowledges the need for a range of types of expertise and the need not only for âexpertsâ but also for the resources and training needed to develop expertise. We discuss demand both from the long-term perspective of what might be necessary to maintain and even enhance U.S. security and prosperity and from the short-term perspective, taking into account immediate unmet needs for personnel for positions that require language or area expertise. Finally, the chapter presents information from the available studies that define demand for specific sectors with discussion of differences in need across sectors. DEFINING AN OCCUPATIONAL âSHORTAGEâ To begin to consider the role of Title VI/FH programs in reducing shortages, the committee considered how the term âshortageâ should be 36
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 37 defined. There have been a number of definitions used to define an occu- pational labor shortage. The National Research Council (2001, pp. 97-98) described two broad types of definitions: one that refers to market shortages and the other based on âsocial demand.â Economists typically consider a shortage to be a market disequilibrium; an occupational labor shortage is a situation in which the number of workers that employers wish to hire at the prevailing wage exceeds the number available for a sustained period. This is similar to the definition used in previous studies (Blank and Stigler, 1957; Arrow and Capron, 1959; Cohen, 1995; Barnow, 1996) that consider a shortage in terms of a labor market that does not clear for some reason. An alternative concept of interest is what Arrow and Capron (1959) refer to as a âsocial demand model.â Arrow and Capron observe that what some analysts call a shortage is not a market disequilibrium at all: In particular, careful reading of such statements indicates that the speakers have in effect been saying: There are not as many engineers and scientists as this nation should have in order to do all the things that need doing such as maintaining our rapid rate of technological progress, raising our standard of living, keeping us militarily strong, etc. In other words, they are saying that (in the economic sense) demand for technically skilled manpower ought to be greater than it isâit is really a shortage of demand for scientists and engineers that concerns them. The market disequilibrium definition requires an investigation of changes in the stock of job vacancies as well as efforts by employers to alleviate the problem while the social demand model requires detailed in- formation on need (Trutko et al., 2003). The committee determined that a thorough examination of the factors that would determine whether a shortage exists and the extent of the shortage, using either model, would be beyond the time and resources available for this review. However, there is clearly a widespread perception that more individuals with expertise in languages and area studies are needed, and there is some evidence that there are vacancies in these areas. With this in mind, the committee endeavors in this chapter to explore the extent to which there is demand for foreign language and area expertise, recognizing that the effectiveness of Title VI/FH programs depends, in part, on the need, or demand, that they are charged with meeting. However, to make clear that we have not conducted a market-based review of shortages, we generally refer to the âdemandâ or âunmet needâ for experts rather than shortages per se. DEMAND: A LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE The long-term perspective of demand is best understood in light of three propositions:
38 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES 1. Need is difficult to quantify, but, like federal funding for science, federal funding for language and area studies may have future benefits that are difficult to quantify. 2. Maintaining capacity for the teaching of languages and cultures in areas that are not of current strategic importance to the United States but may be in the future is important. 3. The United States needs an informed citizenry with an understand- ing of global politics and economics and foreign cultures both for long-term national security and prosperity. Need Is Difficult to Quantify Need is not static. It is not simply the sum of expected job openings in government, education, and business that require language and area exper- tise. The broad definition of social demand takes into account the level of expertise required to maintain or even enhance the global position of the United States in terms of security, prosperity, and economic competitive- ness. Therefore, need is dynamic; it could be that the more one invests in language and area knowledge, the greater the payoff in terms of security and prosperity. It is difficult to test this proposition, but an analogy can be made to U.S. public investment in scientific research and the development of new technology, as described in the report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Future (Na- tional Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, 2007). Federal funding and incentives for scientific research and greater educational opportunity has had a huge payoff in terms of security, economic competitiveness, longevity, and overall quality of life. This means that federal funding for various types of research (particularly in the area of agriculture) has a high rate of return in terms of subsequent economic activity that occurs as the technology spills over into other areas, and new products and technologies are produced as a result, further increasing pro- ductivity. The return on investment for academia as a whole is estimated at 28 percent (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineer- ing, Institute of Medicine, 2007). The effect of federal funding in scientific research and development is quite positive, but it is often not known what the end result will be for a specific project. For example, federal funding for basic research on the structure of DNA helped create the field of molecular biology and the tool of gene splicing, which led to the phenomenal growth of the biotechnology industry. Yet those performing the initial groundbreaking research in this area had few clues of its eventual consequences or economic implications. This may also be true of language and area expertise.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 39 Maintaining Capacity Is Important While it may be difficult to measure the specific payoffs derived from funding for language and area study, we do know that demand and the need for expertise in a variety of languages changes over time, and it is neces- sary to prepare for these changes. Todayâs list of critical languages does not match the list of 20 years ago, and it may not match the list of 10 years from now. Even if the nation were theoretically able to meet current needs, the likelihood of unforeseen international crises underscores the prudent requirement for expertise in a broad range of languages and cultures, in order to discern mutually beneficial interactions or outcomes and to better protect, defend, and advance U.S. national interests. One impetus for Title VI was to have available, if necessary, the expertise to meet just such con- tingences without being able to know in advance exactly what the issues would be and where they would arise. Demand for greater expertise in foreign language and area studies, in terms of both numbers of individuals and areas of expertise needed, will also create a substantial demand for greater resourcesâprograms, instruc- tors, curricula, teaching materials, facilitiesâfor producing this expertise. In other words, demand should be thought of not only in terms of the people with expertise needed, but also in terms of the capacity to produce people with expertise. Need for an Informed Citizenry At the time the Title VI/FH programs were designed, policy makers believed the country needed a relatively small number of deeply trained specialists who would go on to pursue careers principally in academia and government. However, developments over the past 50 years have broadened the need for international expertise. The occupational fields demanding international expertise have expanded dramatically to include business, health, education, law enforcement, the courts, and social services. Lan- guage and area knowledge is needed to work with a more culturally diverse domestic population, reflecting growing immigration flows. And the need for international competence has extended to other areas of life beyond work, as expressed in a recent statement of the Committee for Economic Development (2006): Full participation in this new global economy will require not just compe- tency in reading, mathematics and science, but also proficiency in foreign languages and deeper knowledge of other countries and cultures. Our ef- forts in education reform must be harmonized with global realities if we are to confront successfully a multitude of new and growing challenges to Americaâs security and prosperity.
40 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Because the boundaries between international and domestic problems have become increasingly porous, the very demands of government and citizenship now require knowledge of international topics and the ability to communicate with and understand people from other cultures. Elected representatives and voters will be able to make informed decisions about such issues as trade, health epidemics, environmental conservation, energy use, immigration, and especially global stability only if they are educated to understand the global determinants and consequences of those issues and decisions. The exercise of democratic citizenship domestically calls for citizens to understand the connections between local and global affairs and the complex systems of interdependencies that embed the U.S. economy in a globalized world economy. The demand for international competence has therefore extended to other occupations beyond the area studies specialist, and it has broadened to become necessary for citizenship and for many types of employment. In this regard it is useful to distinguish three necessary and distinct sets of international competencies and skills: 1. Skills and attitudes that reflect an interest in global issues and for- eign cultures. 2. Disciplinary knowledge in comparative fields, such as anthropol- ogy, political science, economics, and world history. 3. Foreign language expertise. While the development of competency in each of them may facilitate the acquisition of competencies in the others, these represent sufficiently distinct domains that they can be treated, for purposes of policy and programming, as independent. The mix of these three types of competen- cies and the level at which they should be developed will vary in different professions, across government, and also at the graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 levels. In graduate schools of business, for example, basic foreign language knowledge combined with knowledge of economics and trade would be more necessary than in some of the other disciplinary areas dis- cussed earlier. In contrast, graduates of schools of public health, nursing, or medicine might be best served with language training. The sections below discuss these in more detail. Cultural Competencies The first set of competencies are âsoftâ skills and attitudes that reflect an openness, interest, and positive disposition to the variation of human cultural expression reflected internationally. In their most basic forms, these
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 41 skills comprise tolerance toward cultural differences. More advanced are the skills to recognize and negotiate differences in cross-cultural contexts, the cultural flexibility and adaptability necessary to develop empathy, and trust and mutual respect in order to have effective interpersonal interactions in diverse cultural contexts. The value of these skills might be recognized by imagining their absence, the consequences of which might be intoler- ance, prejudice, bigotry, or a sense of cultural or racial superiority. These are harmful to daily life in a diverse democracy, as well as for the smooth and effective conduct of international relations, including international business. An example of the importance of these competencies is the recent brochure produced by the nonprofit organization Business for Diplomatic Action, which seeks to use traveling business representatives as a means to improve the image of the United States abroad. The group is distributing its brochure to major international companies, and even wants the U.S. De- partment of State to distribute it to every U.S. passport holder. According to the Wall Street Journal, the brochure advises Americans traveling overseas to avoid âstereotypical American traits such as boastfulness, loudness and speed. The guide urges travelers to eat slower, speak slower, move slower and dress up when abroad since casual dress can be a sign of disrespect. Tone down talk of religion, politics and national pride, as well as your voice. âListen as much as you talk,â the guide says, and âsave the lectures for your kids.â âAnger, impatience and rudeness are universal turnoffsââ (McCartney, 2006). Openness and cultural awareness can enhance the professional effec- tiveness of people in a range of occupations, from education, trade and ser- vices, law enforcement, and arts to innovation and development in business or science. These skills facilitate not only international transactions, but also domestic ones, as the result of immigration and the growing diversity of the U.S. population. Disciplines The second set of global competencies results from disciplinary knowl- edge in comparative fields: comparative history, anthropology, political science, economics and trade, literature, and world history. These are the competencies that allow knowledge and understanding of problems with an international or global dimension. Recent surveys show young Americans lagging behind youth in other industrialized countries in their knowledge of geography and world affairs. In 2002, only 58 percent of U.S. youth knew that Afghanistan is the base of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and only 17 percent could find the country on a map. Only 42 percent could locate
42 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Japan on a map of the world, and only 31 percent could locate Great Brit- ain (Roper Public Affairs and Media, 2002). More recently, only 37 percent of young Americans could identify Iraq on a map, 48 percent thought that the majority of the population in India is Muslim, and 60 percent indicated they do not speak a foreign language fluently (Roper Public Affairs and Media, 2006). These competencies can also be developed at all levels of education, although they should probably be emphasized starting in the middle school curriculum and deepened in high school and higher education. Examples of this kind of skill would be deep knowledge of world history or geography, cultural history or comparative literature, and knowledge of international trade and development economics. There are also global topics of impor- tance to any educated person in the 21st century, which require drawing on different disciplinary fields. One example is the population paradox. At its core, the population paradox is simply the expression of demographic forces: the increase in health conditions worldwide, reduced birth rates in developed nations, and higher birth rates in developing nations are changing the demographic world balance. The result is an aging and declining population in developed countries and a growing population in developing countries. The popula- tion paradox has implications for global patterns of trade and consumption, for energy and resource use, for environmental impact and implications for international relations. Understanding the sources of these demographic trends and of the options to deal with them requires some knowledge of cultural norms in different societies, some knowledge of disparities in re- source distribution, some knowledge of development economics, and some knowledge of comparative politics. Foreign Language The third set of global competencies, which should be closely aligned with the above cultural competencies, is foreign language expertise. These allow communication through varied forms of language expression, with individuals and groups who communicate principally in languages other than English. The resources to develop these competencies beginning in K-12 education are skilled teachers of foreign languages and adequate instructional materials, as well as space in the curriculum to devote to for- eign language instruction. Study abroad can deepen and broaden foreign language competence. Foreign language instruction is most in need of ex- plicit time in the K-12 curriculum and as such will be the most difficult to negotiate, given current pressures to focus instruction in a select range of academic subjects, including English, mathematics, and science.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 43 DEMAND: A SHORT-TERM PERSPECTIVE It is difficult to quantify the demand for globally competent citizens, those with the aforementioned skills, other than to say that the need is al- ways great, perhaps limitless. The more such citizens the United States can produce, the healthier the outlook for the nationâs long-term security and prosperity. However, there are studies that quantify current and near-term needs, in light of current trends. This section reviews recent studies of the short-term demand for people with foreign language and area expertise in government, business, and education. Overall, the studies indicate that: â¢ The need for people with foreign language and area expertise is growing. â¢ The most acute unmet need appears to be in government, particu- larly for people with competency in critical languages (Arabic, Farsi, Chi- nese, etc.) in the national security agenciesâthe military, law enforcement, intelligence, and diplomacy. â¢ In business, the demand is not so much for people with specific foreign language abilities as it is for people with general global awareness and âcross-cultural competence.â These are people who can identify busi- ness opportunities abroad and are comfortable interacting with people from other nations. Businesses meet some of this demand by recruiting foreign students, either in the United States or abroad. â¢ In higher education, there is demand for teaching faculty in lan- guage and area studies. Student enrollment in foreign languages is increas- ing, thus increasing the need for qualified instructors. Lack of trained instructors is a special challenge in less commonly taught languages, par- ticularly Arabic. â¢ Demand appears to be increasing for foreign language teachers at the K-12 level. There is evidence that school districts find it difficult to re- cruit qualified foreign language teachers. More school districts are starting programs in less commonly taught languages. â¢ With increasing enrollments in foreign language programs, both in K-12 and in higher education, there will be an increasing need for assess- ments of language proficiency, for purposes of diagnosis, placement, prog- ress, grading and certification, and program accountability. This need will create a demand for professionals who are trained in language assessment and who can administer assessments of language proficiency that meet cur- rent professional standards of reliability, validity, and impact. This demand is likely to be the most critical in elementary school. Reviewing academic studies and extrapolating from studies conducted in 1979, Merkx (2005) posits that the demand for people with foreign lan-
44 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES guage and area skills across professions will be substantial over the next few decades. Adding demand from government, academia, business, K-12, and state and local government together, Merkx estimates that about 36,000 job openings for people with such skills occur annually. Placing Demand Estimates in Context Several other points deserve mention as context for the committeeâs review of available studies of short-term demand for language and interna- tional skills. First, the research literature described below distinguishes be- tween needs in academia and needs in government or public service. Indeed, one criticism of Title VI/FH is that it is of greater benefit to academia than to government, especially the national security community. While the dis- tinction between academia and government is valid for research purposes, it is also somewhat blurred or artificial, in that it may cause one to overlook the revolving door that exists between government and academia, as people shuttle back and forth between the two. Many academics consult for or volunteer their services to the federal government, and military officers, for example, often attend Title VI-funded universities for advanced study. Second, as noted earlier, demand for expertise in specific languages changes over time. Therefore, it is prudent to maintain capacity across a broad range of languages in order to respond to emerging needs for expertise. Third, language and area needs vary across government, academia, K-12, and business. They also vary across federal agencies, and functions, because the use of language is domain specific. In academia, the abil- ity of a Ph.D. holder to get a job in a South Asian language department may require a very deep knowledge of regional literature, and not merely language proficiency. In the business community, the emphasis may be on cultural knowledge and colloquial language skills to communicate with a range of people in other countries. At the National Security Agency, the emphasis may be on comprehension, for the sake of translating intercepted communications. The Department of Defense (DoD) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may have such needs as well, but they also need to train soldiers or agents to communicate with foreign citizens or with allies in stressful situations, such as searches or roadblocks. In short, demand is not for one specific skill set but for a wide variety of language skills at dif- ferent levels that are useful in different domains. Fourth, the research literature in second language acquisition clearly in- dicates that (1) acquiring a foreign language requires extensive time, effort, and adequate opportunity to learn and (2) unlike first language acquisition, second language acquisition is extremely variable.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 45 Time Required to Develop Language Proficiency A virtually unanimous finding in the research is that attaining func- tional proficiency in a second language requires a great deal of time and exposure to input in the target language through communicative language use (e.g., Kroll and DeGroot, in press). The federal Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale, widely used to measure the language skills of fed- eral employees, includes five levels of proficiency: 0 (none), 1 (survival), 2 (limited working), 3 (professional working), 4 (distinguished) and 5 (native or bilingual). Most federal training programs increasingly aim at ILR level 3 which is âto use the language with sufficient ability to participate in most formal and informal discussions on practical, social and professional top- icsâ (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002, p. 5). And there is increasing recognition of the need for âbeyond 3â level skills. Several sources illuminate how much time is required to reach the higher levels on the ILR scale. For example, using a highly intensive ap- proach to language instruction (25 classroom hours weekly and 3-4 hours of homework daily), the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) estimates that stu- dents take an average of 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours of class time) to reach ILR level 3 if the language studied is close to English (e.g., Romance languages, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian). If the language is more different from English (e.g., Albanian, Bulgarian, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Khmer, Latvian, Russian, Turkish), most students require 44 weeks (1,100 hours of class) to reach ILR level 3. Languages that are exceptionally difficult for English speakers, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, require an average of 88 weeks, or 2,200 hours (with the second year of instruction taking place in the country) to reach level 3 (Malone, 2006). In secondary and higher education, in which instruction is much less intensive, developing advanced language proficiency requires much more time. Typically, colleges and university language classes meet 3 hours per week, providing a total of 90 hours over an academic year; at this rate, it would take six years of study to reach ILR level 3 in a language similar to English (Malone, 2006). At the high school level, classes often meet for 45-50 minutes daily, yet the level of teaching and learning is such that two years of high school instruction is equivalent to one year at the undergradu- ate level. It is important to keep in mind that an individual may require more or less than these average amounts of time to develop language profi- ciencyâor may never develop such proficiency. The literature on language learning is virtually unanimous in demonstrating that the acquisition of a â The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages has developed another profi- ciency scale that is widely used in academia (Malone, 2006; see Appendix D for a comparison of the two scales).
46 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES foreign language is extremely variable, depending on a wide range of in- dividual differences and contextual characteristics. Schumann (1997), for example, describes language acquisition as an instance of sustained deep learning, which varies as a function of individual learnersâ different learn- ing purposes, language use, and personal characteristics. The long-term and variable nature of foreign language learning must be taken into account when designing language programs and selecting individuals. Thus, even though we may be able to ramp up programs for language instruction with massive infusions of resources, it still takes time, effort, and opportunity for individual learners to reach the levels of proficiency that the various demands discussed below require. The Heritage Community Paradox At the same time that the United States is experiencing growing de- mand for foreign language expertise, disciplinary knowledge of world areas and global issues, and broad cultural competency, the education system is implementing policies that thwart a valuable potential resourceâheritage language speakers. Reflecting several waves of immigration over the past 50 years, about 28 million individuals speak Spanish at home, another 2 million speak Chinese, and hundreds of thousands speak Tagalog, Viet- namese, Armenian, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Japanese, and Hindi (U.S. Census, 2000). A heritage language speaker is considered to be someone who is raised in a home in which a language other than English is spoken and who is âto some degree bilingual in that language and in Englishâ (ValdÃ©s, 2001). Those who have spoken the language since birth typically have skills in native pronunciation and fluency, command of a wide range of syntac- tic structures, extensive vocabulary, and familiarity with implicit cultural norms essential to effective language use (ValdÃ©s, 2001). By comparison, an English speaker generally requires hundreds of hours of instruction to develop similar levels of proficiency (see below). Heritage language speakers vary in their level of language proficiency, depending on such factors as the age at which they arrived in the United States, the availability of community language schools, the extent to which their parents and community maintain a bilingual environment, and the ex- tent to which they see fluency in the heritage language as valuable (Kondo- Brown, 2003). Although some ethnic communities have well-developed weekend or evening schools (Chinen, 2005), many do not. Even when communities have available heritage language resources, the U.S. education system discourages continued use of heritage languages in favor of assimilation and English language acquisition. Most states and
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 47 school districts aim to quickly move heritage learners out of these languages and into English-only instruction, which often leads to deterioration or even complete loss of the heritage language (Crawford, 1992; Ovando, 1990; Wiley and Lukes, 1996). Few programs are designed to enhance language skills of heritage speakers. A 1997 survey found that only 7 percent of high schools had language classes for native speakers (Rhodes and Brana- man, 1999). A 2002 survey found that even classes for heritage Spanish speakers, the most widely spoken heritage language, were acutely lacking: only 18 percent of higher education Spanish programs offered such classes (Ingold et al., 2002). Yet when high school and higher education students who have lost heritage language abilities end up studying the language with monolingual English speakers in a foreign language classroom, the process can be inefficient and frustrating (Crawford, 1992). As a result of all of these factors, without active intervention, heritage speaking ability typically dies out within three generations (Wiley, 1996), resulting in loss of a valuable potential resource for teachers, future stu- dents, and national foreign language capacity. Other barriers also impede the nationâs ability to use heritage speakers when they do maintain their language proficiency. For example, inflexible certification policies some- times prevent heritage speakers from qualifying as teachers. Similarly, oner- ous security clearance procedures can make it difficult if not impossible for some heritage speakers to obtain the security clearances necessary for some federal government positions. GOVERNMENT DEMAND Even before the events of September 11, 2001, some observers recog- nized the strategic value of language experts in the federal government. For example, Brecht and Rivers (2000) found that there were 80 federal departments or agencies that needed people with language skills, and many of these agenciesâ needs were not being met. Following the attacks, concern grew. Immediately after the terrorist attacks, the General Accounting Office (GAO, now the Government Accountability Office) stated that the lack of personnel with needed skills had âhindered US military, law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism, and diplomatic effortsâ (U.S. General Ac- counting Office, 2002). This report found that, just prior to the attacks, the intelligence community did not have enough translators to handle coun- terterrorism intelligence. Another study of the pre-9/11 situation pointed to long backlogs of material to be analyzed, an unmet need for specialists, and a readiness level of only 30 percent when it came to ability to translate languages used by terrorists (House Permanent Select Committee on Intel- ligence, 2002).
48 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES The 9/11 Commission identified similar problems, finding that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had insufficient personnel qualified for counterterrorism work, partly because of a lack of proficiency in Arabic. The commission recommended that both the CIA and the FBI bolster their language and translation capabilities, and that the CIA develop a stronger language program with higher standards and pay incentives (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2004). The ear- lier shortcomings at the FBI were highlighted by a media report to the effect that the FBI, three years after 9/11, had thousands of hours of intercepted communications from suspected terrorists that had yet to be translated (Lichtblau, 2004). GAO conducted a study of how four agenciesâthe FBI, the State De- partment, the Army, and the Foreign Commercial Service (U.S. Department of Commerce)âwere meeting their language needs (U.S. General Account- ing Office, 2002). The study found that all four agencies had unmet needs for translators and interpreters, as well as other staff, such as intelligence analysts and diplomats with foreign language skills. These issues adversely affected U.S. military, law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism, and diplomatic efforts. Yet another study by the Congressional Research Service (Kuenzi, 2004) reiterated that there was a widespread understanding that federal foreign language needs were not being met, and that there was a particularly acute lack of people with higher level skills. The most recently available estimates put the number of federal employ- ees in positions that require foreign language skills at somewhere between 25,000 and 34,000. The range in estimates of the number of positions requiring area expertise is quite large: from 14,000 up to 44,000. These figures are estimates because agencies vary in their need for different types and levels of foreign language and area expertise, and because positions requiring such skills are scattered over a wide number of bureaucracies. Gauging the exact number of people in government with foreign language and area expertise is also complicated by the fact that intelligence agencies do not disclose much information. Federal Employment of People with Language and Area Expertise The first comprehensive study of the language and area studies needs and capabilities of the entire federal government was conducted in 1979 by a State Department employee (as cited in Merkx, 2005; Ruther, 2003). The study found that 25 federal agencies employed between 30,000 and 40,000 people whose jobs required competence in a foreign language, and another 14,000 to 19,000 people whose jobs required area expertiseâana- lyzing events in foreign countries and international issues. A 1995 study of 33 agencies estimates that 34,000 positions require foreign language skills
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 49 (excluding area expertise), and 60 percent of these are in the defense and intelligence communities (Merkx, 2005). Rutherâs estimate (2003) is that 100 agencies require people with for- eign language and area expertise. Of 4.2 million federal employees, about 72,000 require foreign language or area expertise (or both): â¢ 25,840 jobs require foreign language skills, â¢ 44,080 jobs require area and international studies expertise, and â¢ 2,280 foreign language positions are filled by contractors. GAO indicated that more than 70 government agencies needed people with foreign language expertise (excluding area expertise) (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). These positions were concentrated in the Army, the State Department, the CIA, and the FBI. The Army, the State Depart- ment, and the FBI alone had close to 20,000 positions that require foreign language skills. Earlier, Christopher K. Mellon, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence, presented a higher estimate of the number of language experts needed by the federal government, testifying to Congress that the military and intelligence agencies alone had 30,000 positions requiring foreign language expertise (Mellon, 2000). On the basis of these studies, the committee estimates that 25,000 to 34,000 federal positions require foreign language skills, and these tend to be concentrated in defense, intelligence, and law enforcement. The esti- mated range of need for people with area or international studies expertise is a little wider, from 19,000 to 44,000 federal positions. Turnover Using 30,000 as the estimated number of people in federal positions that require foreign language skills, Merkx (2005) states that there is a replacement need of about 6,000 people per year due simply to turnover. Ruther (2003) includes people with both language and area skills. Given various retirement and turnover rates, she estimates annual hiring needs for people with both language and area expertise to range from 8,400 to 10,500 each year for this decade. She takes into account normal turnover plus the effect of a higher retirement rate in the aging federal workforce. Ruther expects these needs to be met, but there are problem areas: a dearth of people with highly proficient language skills in nine critical lan- guages, particularly in national security agencies (military, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy). Her assessment is backed up by the fact that most studies of unmet needs for language expertise in the federal government have focused on the military, intelligence, law enforcement, and, to a lesser extent, the diplomatic corps.
50 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Demand in Specific Federal Agencies Studies of demand at specific federal agencies have focused on the need for foreign language skills, rather than area knowledge, so it appears that demand is most acute for people with language expertise, albeit with ap- propriate cultural context. Federal Bureau of Investigation The FBI needs individuals with language skills to work as translators, interpreters, and âspecial agent linguists,â who can interview suspects in a foreign language, including suspects who speak a colloquial language or a dialect. One study found that about half of the special agent linguists were proficient at ILR level 3 or above (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). After 9/11, numerous reports highlighted the dearth of people with foreign language expertise at the FBI, particularly in critical languages. The most dangerous manifestation of this was the large backlog of intercepted voice transmissions, in the form of audio tapes, that had to be translated from Arabic, Arabic dialects, and other languages for counterintelligence and counterterrorism purposes (Committee on Economic Development, 2006; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2004; House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 2002; U.S. Gen- eral Accounting Office, 2002; U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, 2004). The 9/11 Commission stated that âshortages of translators in languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, and Pashto remain a barrier to the FBIâs understanding of the terrorist threat.â In its conclusion, the commission recommended that the FBI hire more people with language skills and better integrate people with language expertise into intelligence operations. Since 9/11, the FBI has employed more people with language skills, in- cluding heritage speakers from U.S. immigrant communities. In 2001, the FBI had 415 translator/interpreter positions authorized but filled only 360, a 13 percent shortfall (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). However, by 2004, the FBI had about 1,200 translators and interpreters, including 400 employees and 800 contractors. Between 2001 and 2004, the number of Arabic language experts jumped from 60 to over 200; Chinese from 70 to 120; Russian from 80 to 100 (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, 2004). In addition to these translators and interpreters, the agency employed nearly 1,800 special agent linguists in 2002 (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). â Some observers think that the FBI has not fully integrated these heritage speakers into the agencyâs organizational culture. If they are correct, the new employees may not remain with the FBI, and they may discourage others in their community from joining the agency.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 51 One of the primary tasks of the FBI language experts is translating audio intercepts. However, demand continues to outstrip supply, and the FBI has needs in a wide variety of languages, not just those associated with counterterrorism. The average time necessary to hire people with language skills has increased from 13 to 14 months, resulting in the bureauâs failure to meet targets for people with skills in about half of 52 languages (Com- mittee on Economic Development, 2006). U.S. Department of State The State Department employs two types of individuals with language skills: Foreign Service officers and staff, who need to communicate with professionals and other diplomats abroad, using âeducatedâ language, and Civil Service personnel, including some hired for their advanced language proficiency. Unlike Foreign Service personnel, Civil Service linguists are expected to bring language skills to their jobs and do not receive training at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). The department has found that an optimal use of Foreign Service per- sonnel is to post people in a variety of regions at first, and then allow them to specialize by region or area of endeavor later in their careers. Because Foreign Service personnel usually change job locations (and frequently lan- guages) every two to three years, the department has a continual need for language training, which is met primarily by the FSI. New Foreign Service officers often possess a masterâs degree and some proficiency in at least one foreign language (Malone, 2006). Although foreign language proficiency is not required, the department awards bonus points in the hiring process to candidates who can demonstrate ILR level 2 speaking skills in certain critical languages. This enables FSI to train them faster to the needed higher proficiency levels. Although the intensive approach to language training used at FSI speeds language learning, the time required for learning often creates a lag between the posting of a Foreign Service position and the time it is filled and does not fully meet the need for Foreign Service officers with advanced foreign language skills (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). Several government reports have identified such unmet needs for Foreign Service officers with foreign language skills (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). For ex- ample, in 2004, the State Department had only eight employees with level 5 ability in Arabic, and 27 at level 4 (Committee for Economic Development, 2006). According to a language officer for the State Department personnel â addition to directly employing language specialists in the Civil Service, the State Depart- In ment maintains a pool of contract linguists, estimated to number about 1,800 in 2002 (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002).
52 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES system, Foreign Service employees assigned to language-designated posi- tions normally have either the required language proficiency or the time to take relevant FSI training. In some instances, however, an employee must be assigned without either. Although the intensive approach to language training used at FSI speeds training time, in many instancesâespecially in critical languages requiring one to two years to reach needed proficiencyâ the State Department is forced to choose between sending the employee to post without needed proficiency or forcing the post to accept an extended vacancy while the employee takes training. Positions requiring proficiency in critical languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese, are sometimes difficult to fill. To cover such vacancies, the department is currently explor- ing ways to establish âfloatâ positions that would be able to cover such training-based staffing gaps. GAO updated its study in 2006, finding that the State Department was still having difficulty filling positions that required language expertise and could not show that its recent efforts in this area were succeeding. Agency- wide, 30 percent of its staff in language designated positions did not fully meet the language proficiency requirements; this percentage was even higher (approaching 60 percent) at embassies in strategically important countries, such as China and Yemen (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2006). In early 2007, a language officer for the State Department personnel sys- tem reported that the Foreign Service had over 4,000 positions requiring some language skills, an increase from about 2,500 such positions in 2001. Among the 2007 positions, most required proficiency at ILR level 2 or above, while a small fraction were âlanguage preferredâ positions requiring only courtesy-level language. The recent Iraq Study Group report provides a vivid portrait of the need for additional personnel with more advanced levels of language profi- ciency. The report pointed out that of 1,000 personnel in the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, only 31 spoke Arabic. Of those, only six spoke fluent Arabic. U.S. Department of Defense In public comments to the committee, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness David Chu outlined the types and levels of lan- guage and area skills needed by the military. He said that the Department of Defense (DoD) was moving toward a future in which the large majority of officers would be expected to be able to speak, read, and understand at least one foreign language, at least at an elementary level. In addition, he said, the military would need some number of officers with advanced Âproficiency â Personal communication, Lauren Marcott, State Department, January 2007. â Personal communication, Lauren Marcott, State Department, January 2007.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 53 in foreign languages and all officers going through the services war colleges would be required to develop âcultural competencyâ (Chu, 2006). His remarks underscored the conclusions of the 2005 Defense ÂLanguage Trans- formation Roadmap, designed to address DoDâs significant and increasing need for language and cultural expertise. The most recent detailed estimates of DoDâs language needs come from a 2002 GAO report, which focuses solely on the Army. In 2001, the Army had authorization to fill 329 translator/interpreter positions in critical lan- guages: Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Farsi, and Russian. It was able to fill only 183 of these positions, a shortfall of 44 percent. For Arabic specifically, the shortfall was 50 percent; for Farsi it was 68 percent. A more recent report reconfirmed the significant shortfall of Arabic translators for U.S. military forces in Iraq (Committee for Economic Development, 2006). In general, all branches of the military are facing the need for personnel with language expertise at increasingly higher levels. The Defense Language Institute is endeavoring to help meet this growing need by expanding capac- ity and increasing its targeted proficiency levels. DEMAND IN OTHER SECTORS Business Business needs are different from those of government agencies, em- phasizing cultural competency over advanced language skills. For example, when Kedia and Daniel (2003) surveyed U.S. firms about their needs, about 30 percent said that the main impediment to more sales overseas was lack of internationally competent personnel. This lack of cultural competency had caused the responding firms to miss marketing or business opportuni- ties as they failed to anticipate the needs of international customers. And 80 percent of the firms said their sales would increase if their staff had more international expertise. When asked about different types of international skills, a global perspective, understanding of foreign business practices, and appreciation for cross-cultural differences were seen to be most important for people in professional positions. A total of 31 percent of the respondents said it was difficult to find people with such skills; 69 percent said it was not. Among a list of international skills required by the firms, respondents indicated that knowledge of a foreign language was least important. These results might be partly due to the fact that the surveyed firms tended to rely primarily on foreign nationals to run their overseas operations, along with a few U.S. managers. Merkx (2005) estimates that the U.S. business community probably has about 200,000 people whose jobs require foreign language and area skills, and there is a replacement need of about 20,000 positions each year.
54 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Most studies of the need for such personnel have found that U.S. firms ex- pect their overseas business to grow more quickly than domestic business (Kedia and Daniel, 2003; Committee for Economic Development, 2006; Bikson and Law, 1994), increasing demand for people with language and area skills. The firms surveyed by Kedia and Daniel (2003) ranked Asia to be the region of greatest importance to current and future business activi- ties. Europe ranked a little lower, followed by Latin America. Africa and the Middle East were areas of less interest, although the importance of all regions was seen as increasing. A few studies have identified business needs for people proficient in foreign languages. For example, the average number of languages spoken by a U.S. business executive is 1.5; for European executives the figure is 3.9 (Committee for Economic Development, 2006). However, most of the available evidence indicates that U.S. firmsâ greatest need is for people with a general awareness of global business and foreign culture that could help them identify and exploit business opportunities abroad. Institutions of Higher Education Understanding higher educationâs demand for language and area exper- tise and developing strategies to meet those demands is critically important, because universities and colleges train the next generation of language, area, and international experts. This section addresses university demand (see Chapter 6 for a discussion of the role of Title VI/FH programs in support- ing universities as suppliers of expertise). Welles (2003) found that, between 1992 and 2002, the number of academic positions open in foreign language instruction ranged from 535 to 675 annually. While half of these were tenure-track positions, many of the nontenure-track positions were those emphasizing language acquisition. The demand was greatest for teaching Spanish. Between 1985 and 2002, the number of faculty job openings in Spanish roughly doubled, while openings for French, German, and Russian faculty stagnated or declined. Although the supply of Ph.D.s met demand for Spanish and other Romance languages, these are not the critical languages most needed today. The heavy emphasis on Spanish appears to be shifting somewhat, ac- cording to the Welles (2004) study of postsecondary enrollments in foreign languages (see Table 2-1). College enrollment in language courses is in- creasing, both in terms of absolute numbers and as a percentage of college students (from 7.3 percent in 1980 to 8.6 percent in 2002). Students are increasingly interested in Arabic. Over the four years from 1998 to 2002, enrollment in Arabic classes nearly doubled, although overall enrollment is low compared with other languages. Interest in Chinese is also growing significantly.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 55 TABLE 2-1â Foreign Language Enrollments in Selected Languages in U.S. Institutions of Higher Education, 1998 and 2002 Percentage Percentage of Overall 1998 2002 Change, 2002 Language Language Enrollment Enrollment 1998-2002 Enrollment Spanish 656,590 746,267 13.7 53.4 French 199,064 201,979 1.5 14.5 German 89,020 91,100 2.3 6.5 Italian 49,287 63,899 29.6 4.6 Japanese 43,141 52,238 21.1 3.7 Chinese 28,456 34,153 20.0 2.4 Russian 23,791 23,921 .5 1.7 Arabic 5,505 10,584 92.3 .8 SOURCE: Welles (2004). Universities need more instructors in Arabic, Chinese, and other critical languages to meet growing student interest. Welles (2003) suggests that uni- versities are not producing enough Arabic Ph.D.s (only 6 in 2001) to meet future demands. Betteridge assessed the availability of Arabic language and area studies faculty through a 2003 study of the membership of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Between 1991 and 2002, the member- ship of MESA grew only slightly, from 2,375 to 2,572, and the percentage of members who were full professors declined. MESA faculty were older than average, and there was some indication that retirees were not being replaced. During this period, 20 percent of MESA members were students. The study suggests that student interest in teaching Arabic at the university level was decreasing because of a perceived lack of prestige and rewards for language faculty. Instead, students were more interested in Middle Eastern politics and economics. These challenges in the field of Arabic and Middle East studies illumi- nate a second problem that hinders the potential of universities to supply international and language expertise. Although there is robust demand for faculty in foreign languages and area studies, universities are increasingly relying on graduate assistants, part-time instructors, and adjunct faculty to meet this demand, particularly for language teaching. In 1998, the Modern Language Association warned, on the basis of results of job placement surveys, that âif present employment patterns continue fewer than half the â There has not been a systematic review of area studies needs across world areas since a study published in 1991 by NCASA (National Council of Area Studies Associations) based on data collected in the 1980s.
56 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES seven or eight thousand graduate students likely to earn PhDs in English and foreign languages between 1996 and 2000 can expect to obtain full- time tenure-track positions within a year of receiving their degreesâ (Mod- ern Language Association, 1998). This practice, if it continues, injects a degree of uncertainty into pro- jections of future demand, and may also discourage young people from helping to meet that demand by preparing for faculty careers in language teaching. In any case, according to Merkx (2005), there will be a need for about 1,400 language faculty and 820 area studies faculty annually over the next decade, as an older generation of faculty retires. Merkx states that there are about 1,900 Ph.D.s produced annually in these disciplines, which would indicate a slight shortfall, but he only counts the Ph.D.s produced by Title VI-funded institutions. Elementary and Secondary Education Available evidence suggests that demand for K-12 foreign language teachers is increasing. Enrollments in foreign languages are rising slightly, and there is evidence that school districts are finding it difficult to fill job openings for foreign language teachers. School districts are also starting programs in less commonly taught languages, sometimes with the support of the federal government. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language conducted a study of public school enrollments in foreign languages (Draper and Hicks, 2002). Enrollment in the latter half of the 1990s increased very slightly, from 32.8 percent of all students in public secondary schools in 1996 to 33.8 percent in 2000. As with the postsecondary level, Spanish is the most studied foreign language, and growth in enrollment from 1996 to 2000 was greatest in Spanishâabout 3 percent. Enrollments for French and German decreased. A survey of principals and foreign language teachers by the Center for Applied Linguistics (1999) had findings on enrollments similar to those in the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages study. It also addressed the lack of teachers. At the secondary level, lack of foreign lan- guage teachers was identified as a major problem by survey respondents, along with funding, lack of training, and poor academic counseling. The top issues for elementary schools were overall lack of funding for language instruction, lack of in-service training, and inadequate sequencing from elementary to secondary schools. Larger student-teacher ratios were identi- fied as major problems at both the elementary and the secondary levels. The lack of foreign language teachers was also addressed in a report by the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washing-
FOREIGN LANGUAGE, AREA, AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE 57 ton (Murphy and DeArmond, 2003). The researchers drew on data from the Schools and Staffing Survey of the U.S. Department of Educationâs National Center for Education Statistics. One of their findings was that job openings for foreign language teachers were most difficult to fillâmore so than openings for other hard-to-fill teaching positions in special education, English as a second language, or science. At the same time, administrators were less likely to use cash incentives to lure foreign language teachers to their districts than they were for teachers of other subjects. There is some evidence that teachers of less commonly taught languages will be in greater demand, because of a recent push for the teaching of such languages, for example Chinese and Arabic. The Portland, Oregon, school district, for example, received a grant under the new National Flag- ship Language Program (part of the National Security Education Program under the Department of Defense) to teach Chinese, and Dearborn, Michi- gan, is implementing a similar program in Arabic. Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia have also announced Chinese language programs (Manzo, 2006b). Such efforts are hampered by a lack of teachers, however (Manzo, 2006a). CONCLUSION Although there is a long-standing and continuing significant unmet need for foreign language, area, and international experts in government, demand is not limited to government. There are clear needs in all levels of the education systemâelementary, secondary, and higher educationâthat also must be addressed to ensure that the nation continues to produce graduates interested and able to pursue international careers in government, business, nonprofit organizations, and other arenas. Businesses need work- ers with knowledge of world markets and an ability to operate in other cultures. Although immediate needs are significant, longer term needs can- not be ignored. A breadth of expertise in a range of languages and topics that are not yet recognized as critical is likely to yield future benefits that enhance the nationâs security and prosperity. While Title VI/FH programs help address immediate demands, their purpose extends beyond this to help address more long-term, but substantial, societal needs.