You are receiving this because you have been nominated as a club, district, or multi-district Youth Exchange officer, counselor, or volunteer. The US Department of State (DOS) mandates the annual certification of all individuals “tasked with core responsibilities that require contact with exchange students (e.g. placement and/or relocation of students, orientation of students, monitoring of students, etc.).” This program is designed to increase the safety of the young people who come into our country, and while we never expect any problems in Rotary programs, we have no choice but to comply.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BE CERTIFIED?
The DOS requires that all of our volunteers (which they call “Users”) take their Online Training/Certification Module. Their notification states, “The Module is offered through Traincaster LMS. It is in addition to the training provided by sponsors on the Exchange Visitor Program. The Module is an open book test that should not take more than 30-45 minutes to complete. The test includes 30 questions of which 27 (90%) must be answered correctly in order to successfully complete and be ‘DOS certified’. The test can be taken multiple times to facilitate its successful completion and certification of the User. The purpose of the Module is to: (1) increase the Users’ knowledge of the Code of Federal Regulations governing the Secondary School Student Exchange Program; and (2) assist sponsors in refocusing their in-house tailored training according to the error pattern reports that will be made available.”
WHAT WILL I NEED TO LEARN?
While the DOS program itself will provide some of the information on which the test is based, you will need a broader foundation in order to pass. There are two resources that will help you greatly in this regard. Please take some time to go through these items:
(1) North American Youth Exchange Network (NAYEN) Online Training
This interactive training program was developed and funded by several of the large US-based multi-districts, including RYE-Florida. It presents a lot of information in a very user-friendly format, and allows you to continue where you left off should you wish to take a break. There is a test at the end, and you can print your results. You will receive a direct link to this program from the NAYEN Training Administrator.
(2) US State Department Regulations Study Guide - http://bit.ly/DOSregs
This is a PDF document containing the relevant sections of the Federal Register (Part 62, Sections 62.10 through 62.25) which govern exchange programs, and upon which much of the DOS exam will be based.
HOW DO I TAKE THE TEST?
Your name and e-mail address are being provided to the State Department. As that happens, a registration notification e-mail will be sent to you automatically (this is in addition to the NAYEN message mentioned above). The email will include your UserID, Initial Password, and training link. Registration notification e-mails could be identified as spam by some computers, so if you don’t receive the notice within the next week, please advise your Rotary District Youth Exchange Chairperson.
That registration notification e-mail looks like this:
|You have been registered to access the U.S. Department of State Local Coordinator Module. This training system will allow you to take the mandated annual certification program online. If you would like more information, please contact your program managers.
Your login information:
User Name: xxxxxx
You may access the Module at http://doslocalcoordinatortraining.traincaster.com
You can take the test as many times as you like until you attain the necessary 90% passing rate. The 30 questions are drawn from a database of 100 or more, so no two tests will be the same. Note also that there is nothing to prevent you from having various resources open during the test; DOS is not trying to get people to fail, but rather to make sure they are knowledgeable. When you pass the test, you can print a certificate. The system will send RYE-Florida a notification of all who have successfully passed the test, so you don’t have to forward your certificate or notify us of your results.
As a Youth Exchange officer or counselor, your name will be registered with DOS as being the “local coordinator” for one or more exchange students. We fully expect that DOS will cross-check those records against the list of individuals who have passed the certification exam, so this is something that must be done PRIOR TO THE ARRIVAL OF OUR EXCHANGE STUDENTS each summer.
The certification term is one year, meaning that anyone who continues on in Rotary Youth Exchange for the following year will need to re-certify through what DOS is calling an “annual refresher.” Automatic reminders are sent by DOS about a month in advance of the annual renewal date.
DOS is absorbing the cost of the development of their training and testing module, and of the record keeping. Whether that will remain the case in the future is, of course, unknown, but we don't expect that we will ever require individuals to pay anything out of pocket to be certified for our volunteer positions.
Finally, while all of this may strike you as an unnecessary inconvenience, this type of protection policy is common with any organization dealing with young people. Some of our volunteers have experience with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., and those organizations have had formal training and testing programs for a long time. It's appropriate for us to do the same.
All of us involved in Rotary Youth Exchange appreciate the time and energy that you devote to this program. We wish this State Department certification process could be bypassed, but we also believe that the more informed all of our officers and counselors become, the stronger our program will be.