Program helps hearing impared students transition to jobs


By Jay Michaels

Gooding, Idaho - If you're a teenager who's never gotten a job before, there are plenty of hurdles to get over before you can join the work force; a new program is helping teens with hearing loss to make that transition.

14 students between the ages of 14 and 18 from all over the state of Idaho have been attending a three day camp at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind in Gooding, called 'Ready, Set, Go!'

They're learning how to create resumes, how to fill out applications, and what to do during job interviews.

Steven Birkby, Idaho Educational Services says, “How to go in and deal with different situations and advocate for their needs, whether they need to get an interpreter, how to use an interpreter, how to educate coworkers and future employers on the appropriate use of communication.”

Birkby says these students range from having mild hearing loss to being profoundly deaf; he says some communicate using their voices, sign language, or through interpreters.

Birkby says these kids have also been learning to work together in groups to solve problems in the workplace.

“Going in and feeling comfortable interviewing for different types of jobs. We really want to make sure that the students are able to find good quality jobs and be able to keep those jobs.”

Birkby says they've registered these students with the Idaho Department of Labor, so they can get summer jobs to begin building their work experience for their resumes.

He says this camp's sponsors included Wells Fargo, Glanbia Cheese, Hamilton Relay Network Interpreting Service, and Idaho Vocational Rehabilitation.

“We really want to educate different companies in the state of Idaho how to work with individuals that may become employed by their company who have different disabilities.”

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