Career Assistance for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
Though they possess many special skills and capabilities suited for major industries, the job hunt process can be challenging for the hearing impaired. One key reason is that they’re often asked to overcome easily avoidable obstacles, such as taking part in interviews where sign language interpreters haven’t been provided or addressing an employer’s misconceptions regarding how their impairment will impact performance. Despite these obstacles, it’s important that everyone who is hearing impaired understand they can excel in the job market.
Whether you’re entering the workplace for the first time or seeking to change careers, this comprehensive resource guide of articles, tips, videos, and other information can help. Take advantage of the advice provided here, and be well on your way to getting hired.
Learn About Your Employment Rights
Use these resources to educate yourself about your employment rights and the rights and requirements of potential employers:
Q&A about Deafness and Hearing Impairments in the Workplace – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission answers questions regarding how to navigate the hiring process when you have a hearing impairment. For example, it provides guidance on when to disclose your hearing loss and what rights are held by employers and employees.
Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodations – The National Association of the Deaf explains the rights held by federal and non-federal employees, what is meant by reasonable accommodation, and how to file a complaint with the EEOC.
Know Your Rights – The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) clarifies what laws are in place to protect the rights of people with hearing impairments and provides information about those laws and the agencies that enforce them:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
- Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA)
- Hearing Aid Compatibility Act (HAC)
- Rehabilitation Act
- Communications Act
- Fair Housing Act
- Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act
Rehabilitation Act Fact Sheet – Provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, this sheet explains who is covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and what discriminatory acts are prohibited in Health Care and Human Services settings.
When is Sign Language Interpreting Required by Law? – This article explains when interpreters must be offered based on the requirements of the ADA and how non-compliance is penalized.
The Dos and Don’ts of a Successful Job Search
A great way to increase your chances of landing a position is to be prepared. Follow the readiness checklist below so that you can hit the ground running:
Do know your value. It’s important that you know just how valuable you are to the workforce and to potential employers. Before your interviews, read EHSToday.com’s “The Benefits of Hiring and Working with Deaf Employees” for a big confidence boost.
Don’t skip a skills assessment. The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration offers several resources to help you find the right career:
Do cover your bases with the “Employment Toolkit.” HLAA offers this great toolkit, which presents comprehensive advice on getting hired. It provides interview strategies, communication tips, advice on dealing with “adverse situations,” and much more.
Don’t be afraid to suggest accommodations to employers. Some employers may not be aware of the accommodations that are available for employees with hearing impairments. Share the Job Accommodation Network’s “Accommodation and Compliance Series” with potential employers to make it easier for them to educate themselves.
Here are additional resources about accommodations and working with hearing impaired employees:
- OSHA’s Innovative Workplace Safety Accommodations for Hearing-Impaired Workers
- HR Magazine’s “Learn How to Communicate with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Employees”
- JobAccess’s “How to support job seekers who are deaf or hard of hearing”
Do write a killer resume. Deaf Action Center created an excellent seven-part video series on resume building. Viewers are guided through each video via a sign language interpreter:
- Writing Tips
- Identifying Information
- Job Interview Pointers
Don’t miss an opportunity to explore your options. Ehow.com presents a list of careers that play to the strengths of the hearing impaired.
Do take advantage of assistive technology. Many forms of assistive technology are available to make your transition into the working world or a new position easier. Read “Workplace Personal Assistance Services and Assistive Technology” to learn more.
Use Scholarships to Pay for Your Higher Education
Many scholarships are available to hearing impaired students. Here is a selection of possibilities:
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation’s Grants and Awards
- Bridges for Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s The Linda Cowden Memorial Scholarship
- Carl Sandburg College’s Lions Club (Noon) of Galesburg Endowment
- Chicago Injury Center’s Annual Scholarship Fund for Disabled Veterans
- Cochlear Graeme Clark and Anders Tjellstrom Scholarships
- Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region’s Margaret Ferris Scholarship for Hard of Hearing Students
- Foundation for Sight & Sound’s National Scholarships
- Indiana University
- and Mrs. Harold A. Cohen Scholarship
- Estate of Anne Gurecki
- Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation’s Scholarships
- Michigan State University’s Dr. Hy and Myra Shapiro Spartan Scholarship Challenge
- National Technical Institute for the Deaf Scholarships
- Optimist International’s Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Sertoma’s Hard of Hearing or Deaf Scholarships
- State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board’s Hearing & Visually Handicapped Student Grant
- The Travelers Protective Association’s Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired
- Union County College’s Linden Lions Club Scholarship
- University of Maryland’s Pegasus Fund
- University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Jessie Ridley Foundation, Inc. Academic Scholarship
- Valencia College’s Rotary Club of Celebration Scholarship
- Waubonsee Community College’s Geneva Lions Club Scholarship
- West Minster College’s Class of 1987 Scholarship
- Yavapai College Foundation’s Vision and Hearing Impaired Education Scholarship
Accept a Helping Hand – Use Employee Assistance Resources
As you tackle the job market, you may need a helping hand. There are many organizations available to assist you in navigating this challenging process:
CareerOneStop’s Service Locator – Find workforce services in your area using this searchable database provided by the Department of Labor.
Goodwill Career Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing – Operating out of New Jersey and in conjunction with the Jewish Vocational Services of Metrowest and the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, this organization provides “assessment, assisted technology and employment services for individuals who are deaf or have a hearing loss.”
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association – Take advantage of resources on how to look for employment and career development or search the organization’s listings.
Humanim’s Deaf Services – Located in Baltimore, this organization provides job training and other vocational support services.
Deaf in Government – For federal employees with hearing impairments, this resource helps to foster barrier-free work environments.
National Technical Institute for the Deaf – Students at NTID receive top-level training and placement help from the school’s Center on Employment.
Minnesota Employment Center – MEC works with job seekers with hearing impairments to match them with positions.
Work, Inc.’s Deaf Services – This organization provides a variety of services including assessments, skills training, and career development.
e-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing – This site provides a variety of information and resources to help visitors develop a successful job search strategy.
Government-provided Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing – Many state governments have set up state-funded rehabilitation and vocational services for the hearing impaired. Here are a few examples:
Search Job Listings for Your Big Opportunity
Your new job awaits! These well-known job boards offer great places to start your search:
ChronicleVitae – If you’re interested in working in higher education, you may be able to find a position using this database.
Deaf Unity – This site lists available opportunities from around the world.
DeafEd.net – Find open positions in deaf education.
Glassdoor.com – More than just a job board, this site provides company reviews, salary information, company photos, and more.
Juju.com – Search this site’s listings to provide opportunities tailored for the hearing impaired.
Schools and Programs for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students – Gallaudet University provides this helpful list. Visit the schools’ websites to check for career opportunities.
USA Jobs – To find a position with the Federal government, use this database.