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Shortage of court reporters: Officials offer classes for people to explore the job

The need for court reporters continue to grow. That's why officials in two Wabash Valley counties are offering free classes to teach people the ins and outs court reporting.

Posted: Jul 8, 2020 6:28 PM

TOLEDO, Ill.  (WTHI) - Nationwide, there's a shortage of court reporters.

These essential workers log verbatim everything that is said inside the courtroom.

Without them, there's no record of what goes on.

"Many people, unless they're in the courtroom, they don't even think about court reporting unless they're in the courtroom. It is a very difficult program. Very difficult, but it's so worth it," said Jill Layton.

Layton is the official court reporter for the Illinois Fifth District in Cumberland County.

She said the shortage has taken a toll on them locally.

That's because the Edgar County court reporter retired, and they've been unable to fill that position for a few years.

"The Clark County reporter leaves the courtroom on Thursday's in Clark County, and she covers up in Edgar. On Friday, I cover up there. I drive an hour, and I cover the court," said Layton.

She said several years ago they tried to replace the court reporters with electronic recordings, but there were too many mistakes being made.

Now, they're in need to bring back these in person reporters.

Part of the shortage also has do to with many students choosing to pursue a four-year degree, instead of one of these trades.

That's why they're offering two upcoming classes to teach people the ins and outs of court reporting.

Layton said they hope this helps draw people in.

"We have information we'll give them about all the different schools, so they can go from there and decide in three, three and a half hours that 'I think this is what I want to do,' or 'No, this isn't for me,'" said Layton.

Layton said she's hopeful people check out the class, and give it a try, because you never know what could happen after taking the class.

"If they decide this is what they want to do, they'll have an incredible career that they'll love the rest of their life. You'll never talk to a court reporter that says 'I don't like my job,'" said Layton.

There are two free upcoming First Steps classes.

The first is being held at the Edgar County Courthouse on Saturday, August 29th starting at 9 a.m.

The second is on Sunday, August 30th at 1 p.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

Again, these classes are free.

You do need to register prior to the class.

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