Stark State College and VITAC Corporation have become “partners” in order to develop, implement and sustain a leading captioning program in the country that will prepare future broadcast captioners. VITAC’s technical expertise and commitment to Stark’s IRT program is immeasurable and one that will enable Stark to become a leader in captioning education.
VITAC is the country’s largest provider of closed captioning for television broadcasts and are feeling the effects of a national shortage of workers who provide realtime captions for live television programming. VITAC captions everything from news to sports to the Home Shopping Network. As the industry struggles to recruit students, it also finds itself facing federal mandates that will continually raise the percentage of closed-captioned programming over the next several years.
VITAC is an acronym for Vital Access Through Captioning. Both the breadth and scope of closed captioning are expected to grow to encompass not just more live television programming, but programs so-called off-line media like videotapes. The current mandate from the Federal Communications Commission calls for 100 percent of all English programs and 25 percent of Spanish programs be captioned by 2006. While the FCC mandate is stimulating the live broadcast side of the industry, a section of the Americans With Disabilities Act will soon require that more and more non-broadcast programming – videotaped movies, corporate teleconferences and Internet programs - carry closed captioning.
VITAC has generously donated captioning equipment for the new captioning lab in the W.R. Timken Information Technology building. This professional soundproof captioning lab is connected to a 21-computer classroom utilizing captioning software to train both current students and transitioning reporters.