An article published at the Scripps News site on June 16, 2010, “New Software Helps Deaf in Classrooms,” explains how the software, called Interact-AS from Palmquist allows the deaf person to write by hand or type out the words.
Then the computer reads the words aloud and also translates it back into text for someone else to read on a computer screen. The software isn’t meant to replace live interpreters.Think about the idea for the future. When employers can’t afford to hire live interpreters for classrooms or workplace offices, wouldn’t they welcome such software to save money?
In anticipation of his possibly being offered a position, before you set up an interview or have someone set it up for you, let the employer or interviewer know beforehand that there is software available which would make it easy for employers or interviewers to communicate via a computer. For example, Speech Gear, is software made by Palmquist Company that allows deaf people to communicate with the hearing community.
After all, dictation software used by doctors has sometimes replaced medical transcribers but only in some situations. Basically, employers are hoping more technology will replace the need to hire live transcribers and interpreters who need health care insurance paid by employers, perks, pensions, and salaries. By comparison, the software is cheaper.
When a person with disabilities is hired, accessibility is important. Has the corporation you want to work for lowered work surfaces, widened isles, added delays on automatic doors that give wheelchair bound employees time to get through the doors, and added paper towel dispenses at lower levels?
Are deaf or speech impaired people hired and how do they communicate in what types of jobs? For the sake of the health of people with impairments, don’t call them disabled. It’s a misnomer. It in no way interferes with their ability to do their jobs.
You’re hired when you pose the least financial risk to your employer. That’s why Sacramento needs to follow the health trends of people seeking work that have to compete with those that don’t have impariments.
The result is that when two people compete for the same job or when thousands of applicants show up for only a few employment openings, who’s going to be hired and why? For further information, check out Job Accommodation Network. Also check out my other article on Sacramentans volunteering, in that case, to fight starvation overseas.
America has more than 54 million citizens with disabilities. Sixty-five percent of working-age adults with disabilities were unemployed a decade ago, according to the National Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities, established by President Clinton on March 13, 1998. Considering today’s economy, how are Sacramentans with impairments who are applying for jobs keeping up their overall health as they look for work?
And what’s the trend like regarding hiring them as they compete with thousands of applicants vying for the same few local job openings? How has the health of Sacramento job seekers with disabilities changed since then? How many Sacramentans also design and build rough-terrain wheelchairs and send them locally and overseas to the needy?
Many of those Sacramento-based job seekers may also be active in the Washington, DC-based Dole Foundation for Employment of People with Disabilities, and others are involved with local agencies in their areas. But shouldn’t there be more organizations for Sacramento job seekers, since this is the capitol city of California? If you have a disability and apply for a certificate that states you have a disability and that it doesn’t interfere with your ability to do a specific job, you can then apply for temporary and/or part time work with the state.
In California, people are protected against discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived disability. There’s even a website listing jobs in Sacramento for people with disabilities, with veterans preference. See, Veterans Affairs Jobs at Indeed.com.
What’s the healthy trend when it comes to finding a job that won’t endanger your health if you’re looking for work and have a disability? The economy is such that a lot of county workers are being laid off.
Some recent graduates with disabilities turn to Just One Break (JOB) in New York City, which now is part of Abilities. But what about Sacramento with its high rate of unemployment? Some Sacramentans with disabilities turn to the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC). The basic idea when it comes to the health trends of people with disabilities at work is to integrate those with disabilities into the workplace and into the consumer marketplace. In a sense, if you can do the job you were hired for, you don’t have a disability in the workplace.
Services most often offered are information hotlines and audiovisual library information or customized staff training, accessibility surveys, workshops, and seminars as well as other services.
What you can do to promote the health of people with disabilities looking for work is to help to create associations that spotlight the importance and value of employment as the key to financial independence for graduates with disabilities. Some have joined the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) that drafted the Americans with Disabilities Act and created AAPD, a national non-partisan coalition representing America’s 54 million citizens with disabilities.
You might start with the Department of Rehabilitation in your area and find out how you can help when it comes to focusing on placing professional level people with disabilities in positions. Under the Schedule A Program, the Federal Government is the best employer for people with disabilities. And so are the universities. Locally, in Sacramento and Davis, the University of California, Davis, for example, is a pretty good employer. How does it serve the community of job seekers with disabilities?
It works with community groups and makes an effort to find positions, but my personal experience is that employers in general don’t go out of their way. But in this economy, when will the hiring increase? How long will the wait be before recent graduates with disabilities find employers offering more than temporary work whether the employer is a university, the government, or private corporations?
What’s the best way graduates with disabilities can find a job–that is good for the health of the person with disabilities–that doesn’t over-stress the person while doing a job?
The best way to find out is to do an internship, and get work experience while still in school. It’s critical to demonstrate your skills to an employer. What goes on in the minds of employer is that they need the validation. They can’t imagine or visualize how you can do your job and function at work with multiple disabilities.
Without having hands on experience, you’re at an extreme disadvantage, because employers and interviewers don’t see anything in a resume demonstrating that you can do the job.
The healthiest trend when it comes to working with disabilities is to find a niche where you can look forward to your job with a feeling of being useful, making a difference, and not wasting your time. When asked what do you make? You can reply, “I make a difference.”
Is your salary anyone’s business? No. Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about being able to thrive without undue stress and lead an acceptable life where you can reach your potential.
Do a job search using the Dept. of Rehabilitation as your resource. Some universities have workability programs where the employers have focused attention on students with disabilities.
How many colleges or universities in Sacramento have a workability program? How has the workability program contributed to the health of persons with disabilities? Some universities have workability programs where there is a special person in place in career center who works only with people with disabilities.
UC Davis and UC Irvine have workability programs with special career center employees who work exclusively with people with disabilities. Many community colleges also have such workability programs. Internships for students are important to convince employers that workers can do the job.
Convincing employers is hard work. Let’s look at the health trends of job seekers with multiple disabilities. Many have multiple disabilities, including severe speech impairment and a body and hands that shake visibly around a computer keyboard. With these visible attributes, let’s say you’re going for a job as a computer programmer.
You could fax or email a resume. As soon as you walk in the door for an interview, people not ready for your severe speech impairment might ask you whether your health is up to being able to do the job for which you’re being interviewed. What if you don’t have a relative with a lot of connections to pull the strings for you to get a job? That’s what you’re facing in today’s economy in Sacramento.
Finally, you’re hired, and get promotions. People might not have pictured you with such severe disabilities working on a computer. Until employers saw your demonstration, they couldn’t imagine how you could accurately operate the computer.
Let’s say you have multiple physical disabilities, sporadic body movements and very impacted speech. But in Sacramento, you were given a chance. That’s what the city needs to improve the health, to create a trend of workers with disabilities who can do the job.
As the years pass, employees around you, let’s say, now accept your work as computer programmer for a large corporation. But could you have landed the job by doing a demonstration of your abilities on the computer at a job interview? Or must you have a father with connections to land a permanent job?
If you don’t have anyone with connections, to solve this problem, you’d need to have someone request that the firm you’re applying to set up a system for you on a computer so you could do a computer demonstration for the employer. Would a firm do that unless the government required them to? And who would pay for that type of accommodation in the case of a few job openings and hundreds of applicants?
That’s where someone needs to step in, perhaps as a volunteer to set up the interview for someone with a speech impairment. At that point, you could go in on your own and do a computer demonstration. These are techniques that get jobs for those with impairments. And in the long run, the work is good for the health of the individual.
What Sacramento needs is someone to arrange for the employer to see a person with disabilities working. Chances are when an employer sees you working, you’ll be hired. But what Sacramento needs is for someone to set up the interview. If it’s you, and your body body is shaking all over the computer, and interviewers are wondering how you can hit the correct keys on the keyboard, that’s when a visiting angel needs to step in.
That means a real person, perhaps a volunteer to act as a go-between, a catalyst bringing employer in contact with the job seeker with severe disabilities who can prove he or she can do the job. After experience is accrued, people with disabilities aren’t asked to demonstrate ability. Solve the job interview problem by demonstrating your ability once. You won’t be asked to demonstrate again if you’re hired. You’d just get on with the work assigned.
Interviewers are too scared of asking an illegal question. When employers watched you demonstrate, you can be hired on the spot. Employers are not going to talk about how you can do yours job. You need to send video recordings on a DVD or give proof you can do the job if you’re having a difficult time finding a go-between to set up the interview.
Employers may not be able or willing to imagine how your or anyone with a disability can function and do the job in spite of tremors or multiple severe disabilities. They don’t know all the technology out there that can allow people to work. That’s the big problem. Interviewers and employers aren’t aware of the accessibility technology available to you.
The Federal Disabilities Act requires that employers make reasonable accommodations. The wealthier the company is, the more money the government is expected to spend on accommodations. Most people with disabilities don’t require accommodations.
In Sacramento if you have a certificate of disability based on a letter from your doctor, you can apply for state jobs. But now that the state is laying off so many people, a lot of the work may be temporary until the hiring starts again in larger numbers. So what do you do locally while you’re waiting to be hired or even interviewed?
Look into “Schedule A Hiring”, a program offered by the Federal government. Check out the website of the US Office of Personnel Management. Any Federal Employer has programs to hire people with disabilities. Call Schedule A recruiters in any Federal office because they are required to find people with disabilities to hire for the Federal government. Don’t give up hope to find work that’s good for your health in the long run.
According to the Federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, to qualify for the Schedule A Program, you need to show your ability and skill to perform the job in question. First you contact your State Vocational Office to obtain a certification statement that says you ‘re able to perform the duties of each position for which you are applying. After you have certification, you may contact each Federal agency where you wish to work, and ask for the contact person who handles the selective placement program.
The Federal Government makes a huge effort to hire people with disabilities. Check out the Federal government agency responsible for all government contracts with businesses to purchase high tech services and equipment. Their purpose is to contract out with private companies.
They will have computer and engineering positions to manage the contracts here. When the Federal government has a government with someone over $15,000 the employer must agree to conditions such as making an effort to have an affirmative action program to hire those with disabilities. Companies that work with the Federal government are under contract to make an effort to hire those with disabilities.
Sometimes companies make efforts to bring in technical professionals with disabilities by hiring interpreters or bringing relatives or friends in on the interview. Let’s say you are a deaf person looking for a job in circuit board testing position in the manufacturing industry. Will the company also hire a “signer” to translate during the interview? Can they afford this or are they cutting expenses?
Or are there other deaf people working as a group and one signer is hired? Those are health trends to follow in Sacramento, to see how the job-seeking community with disabilities is being served by private corporations and by the state and federal governments in this area.