The theme for this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “Advancing Access and Equity.” The theme focuses on inclusive employment policies and practices that benefit all employees. For instance, Global Connections to Employment (GCE) provides accommodations to assist those who are deaf/Deaf Deafblind Hard of Hearing and Deaf (d/DdBHHD+).
GCE has two full-time sign language interpreters on staff to help team members starting from the recruiting process and all along their employment journey. Kendra Keller and Page Green work closely with team members to facilitate a work environment that is accessible and inclusive.
“As an interpreter, it’s my job to support the connection between people who don’t share the same language,” said Kendra. “Great joy comes from seeing that relationship and trust develop into teamwork, communication equity, growth and success for everyone.”
Page shares a similar sentiment for being an interpreter. “What drew me to GCE is the same thing that keeps me here, the dedication and commitment of its leaders to the mission of helping people through life’s journey. Every day I see this played out in the lives of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees, and it’s a great privilege and honor to be a part of this great organization and the work that they’re doing.”
Vincent Stowbunenko is a GCE team member who is deaf. He credits much of his work success to effective communication with his team, hearing and deaf, when working on tasks and projects.
“Interpreting services are not just words; they are bridges to independence, job success, and full participation. They empower us to communicate, collaborate, and contribute our unique talents to the workforce, breaking down barriers and building a more inclusive world.”
There are two tips that anyone can use when working with colleagues with hearing loss.
- Ask how the team member prefers to communicate (i.e. interpreter, writing, sign language, text). Then, seek out and use the appropriate accommodation.
- When using an interpreter, allow time before a meeting for the interpreter and team member(s) with hearing loss to work through necessary logistics and set up to ensure a productive meeting.
Kendra and Page are certified by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID.org). Communication assistance between everyone is one of many ways GCE is committed to workplace inclusion. For more information about this accommodation with GCE, please reach out to Lisa Bloodworth at [email protected].