Since 1976, Prince Institute has provided quality court reporting education with the enrollment support of Stenograph. In fact, a representative from Prince Institute stated, “The partnering of Prince Institute with Stenograph is a practical, hands-on approach to increasing enrollment in court reporting education to help meet the tremendous nationwide need for well-qualified court reporters and broadcast captioners.”
However, Stenograph has recently made the business decision to stop enrolling students in Prince Institute in favor of offering webinar-based training programs only.
What This Means for Virginia’s Court Reporters
As companies and institutes begin relying more on technology and less on hands-on training, Virginia court reporters (both current and future) must work harder to develop their skills and stand out from hundreds of other qualified candidates. Consequently, we must band together in order to help strengthen, defend, and preserve the reputation of Virginia court reporters as well as the profession as a whole; otherwise, our learned skills may not be enough to compete with more experienced transcriptionists.
According to the Virginia Court Reporting Association (VCRA), transcriptionists “can no longer afford to be complacent and stand by [without being] proactive.” Instead, we must unite in our shared membership in order to:
- Preserve court reporting education. The VCRA has the power to recommend and advocate educational issues with the state and other establishments as well as develop training programs and standards. However, it can’t do it alone. The organization needs support both within and outside of the administration in order to activate committees, debate mandatory certifications, and plan for the future. It cannot be successful without the input and backing of fellow Virginia court reporters, transcriptionists, and stenographers.
- Give voice to court reporting concerns. Standing silently only ensures future program closures and a decrease in student enrollment. However, by speaking out against such “business decisions,” as a group we can make a stand worth hearing.
- Strengthen the reputation of court reporting as a profession. There is strength in numbers and a growing VCRA roster can do a lot for the reputation of Virginia court reporters. The VCRA strongly encourages past and present court reporters to join the Association and help make a difference for Virginia court reporting and court reporter career survival. Together we can learn how to cope with changes and determine the best way to grow and push forward.