CAL Tapped to Develop Career-Focused Resources for STARTALK Initiative

July 22, 2021
CAL Tapped to Develop Career-Focused Resources for STARTALK Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC -- 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 and administered by the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. 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.

CAL is a non-profit organization founded in 1959. Headquartered in Washington DC, CAL has earned an international reputation for its contributions to the fields of bilingual and dual language education, English as a second language, world languages education, language policy, assessment, immigrant and refugee integration, literacy, dialect studies, and the education of linguistically and culturally diverse adults and children. CAL’s mission is to promote language learning and cultural understanding by serving as a trusted resource for research, services, and policy analysis. Through its work, CAL seeks solutions to issues involving language and culture as they relate to access and equity in education and society around the globe.


Trey Calvin, Communications Director (