Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) launched its first public policy internship program with Gallaudet University student Jacob Salem, who is a student in the university’s master in public administration program. CSD will have three public policy interns each year, working closely with Director of Public Policy David Bahar.
“We work heavily in public policy, especially matters that affect the Deaf community such as emergency access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, employment matters, domestic violence services access, and much more,” Bahar said. “It’s been a great benefit to CSD to have interns specializing in public administration, which then creates a pipeline for public policy professionals who are deaf.”
Salem noted that he particularly wanted to intern at CSD because of CSD’s reputation for excelling in leadership and teamwork. “At CSD, I felt a true sense of self-sufficiency because I worked on projects that create a positive impact on our community,” he said. “It was amazing to be part of an environment where every deaf person is given a fair chance at every opportunity, just like CSD’s vision.”
Bahar emphasized his belief in the importance of understanding how the government functions, how to approach policy work to receive the desired results, and understanding what action steps to take to accomplish the end goals. “This was what I focused on during Jacob’s time with CSD, and then I made sure he had the opportunity to do some hands-on work.”
Salem said, “Being able to talk with people working in the very industry I want to work in was priceless. By interacting with public policy professionals and governmental officials at meetings and events, I acquired so much data and experience that will serve me well in my career.”
Salem also gained crucial knowledge about topics that he hadn’t considered previously. “Before I began my internship, I had somewhat limited knowledge about public policies concerning the Deaf community. It all changed after I began working on exciting projects involving the Federal Communication Commission, telemedicine, direct video communication, interpreting, Small Business Administration, video relay services, and much more. I never realized the lack of accessibility in rural areas and it was meaningful for me as I can relate to this issue.”
This led Salem to consider accessibility for underserved populations such as the Deaf immigrant community. “With this new knowledge and on-the-job experience, I now realize the significance of universal design and advocacy. These create a master key to unlock so many doors for our community.”
Persons interested in interning with the public policy program at CSD should contact David Bahar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Although there has been recent growth in deaf-owned businesses, accessible resources for deaf entrepreneurs continue to be sparse. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) announced today that it will establish an incubator program and social investment fund to support deaf-owned businesses.
“It is our belief that deaf businesses serve as an economic engine for employment among deaf individuals,” said CSD CEO Christopher Soukup. “By providing the training, resources, and support deaf-owned businesses need, we can then combat the dismal unemployment rates among deaf people.”
According to the National Business Incubation Association, businesses working with an incubator have an 87% success rate versus a 44% success rate for those that do not. “As a deaf individual who works for a deaf-owned business, I know firsthand the significant impact a deaf-owned enterprise can have,” CSD Board Chair Danny Lacey said. “The CSD board is fully supportive of this initiative, which furthers CSD’s charitable purpose of helping fuel the deaf community as a viable, successful vehicle for long-lasting accomplishments.”
The unemployment and underemployment situation among deaf Americans is currently at crisis levels and is a powerful motive for the establishment of this social investment fund. “CSD actively works to combat this unacceptable unemployment rate, which exists because many are hesitant to bring in deaf people, mistakenly believing they lack the necessary qualifications, expertise, and knowledge,” said Soukup. “In addition to our make-ready employment training programs, this incubator program will enhance the opportunities for deaf-owned businesses to become financially sustainable.”
It is also hoped that through this program, deaf-owned businesses will demonstrate to young deaf generations that they, too, can be entrepreneurs. “Often deaf children don’t see signing deaf people in business leadership positions, and mistakenly believe that only if they speak and assimilate into the hearing community can they succeed,” Soukup noted. “The truth is there are so many successful deaf-owned businesses already, which leads to jobs, businesses, and other investment opportunities that go back into the community. This then converts into more positive perceptions of deaf people, leading to even more opportunities.”
Soukup added, “By provide compelling alternatives to unemployment, we can cultivate success within our own community. We are creating our own success stories.”
Information about the incubator program and how to apply to participate will be available in August. To receive updates on CSD’s incubator program and other services, click on the Subscribe button below:
PAHWork was founded in 2015 by Bryce Chapman who recognized the need for a central place for employers and Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing job seekers to connect over potential job opportunities. PAHWork provides a listing of job openings from companies who are committed to making their workplace and hiring practices Deaf-friendly. Chapman, who has been employed with Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) since 2014, developed and managed PAHWork as a personal project he was passionate about.
Recently, CSD launched CSD Works and the CSD Works Career Center. Through a series of videos narrated in American Sign Language and other online materials, CSD Works supports Deaf job seekers in finding or maintaining employment, as well as prepares them for potential advancement. Connected to CSD Works, the Career Center invites Deaf job seekers to identify current job openings they are interested in applying for. If a skill or qualification is required that the Deaf job seeker does not yet have, they can connect to CSD Works get more information on how to develop that skill or qualification. CSD Works also focuses on providing support to companies who are committed to hiring Deaf job seekers because they recognize the value and contributions that Deaf employees bring to their workforce.
Chapman realized that there was some redundancy between the Career Center and PAHWork, and decided to close PAHWork to encourage PAHWork job seekers and employers to use the Career Center instead. “In addition to providing information on current job openings through the Career Center, CSD Works offers so many resources to improve the hire-ability of Deaf job seekers. CSD Works is also a valuable resource for employers to learn more about how they can make their working relationship with Deaf employees a successful experience for all involved.”
Ryan Hutchison, Vice President of CSD Neighborhood, the department responsible for implementing CSD Works and the Career Center, said he learned a lot about what makes a job board effective from talking with Chapman about his experience with PAHWork. “CSD looks forward to welcoming the job seekers and employers from PAHWork and thanks Bryce for his early leadership in recognizing a need in our community and for providing a model framework for a job board specifically created for Deaf job seekers.”
Visit CSD Works to get signed up today.
For any inquiries, please email email@example.com.
The CSD Student Development Center (SDC), located at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, New York, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary on April 27. “The CSD SDC was developed for students to feel connected and to learn things beyond the classroom,” said CSD Chief Executive Officer Chris Soukup. “It quickly became a hub for campus activity, bringing people together to advance dialogues and partnerships, and serving as a community center, which was our ultimate goal.”
The CSD SDC houses NTID’s student government, student life, multicultural organizations, a study center, a communication center, commuter lockers, and informal spaces, all designed to facilitate socialization and interaction. It also features artwork by Deaf and hearing artists with ties to NTID, and Ellie’s Place, a first-floor lounge named after the late NTID Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs Eleanor Rosenfield.
“Over these past 10 years, the CSD SDC has become the heart of campus life at RIT/NTID,” said Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “The facility provides space for leadership opportunities that are essential for our students’ success. We are grateful to CSD for their visionary generosity, and look forward to future collaborations.”
Part of the 10-year celebration is the launch of a partnership between CSD Creative and RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology at the SDC. “Given such a successful collaboration, it seemed only natural that we establish a partnership with RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology in the CSD SDC, especially with RIT/NTID’s outstanding graphic design, technology, multi-media and visual communications programs,” Soukup added. “This partnership is a great way to combine resources and hands-on experience alongside some of the best Deaf talent in the field, many who are RIT/NTID graduates.”
CSD Creative, led by CSD Creative’s Bryce Chapman and RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology Director Gary Behm, provides students with real-life learning experiences in web design and development, graphic design, digital advertising, brand development, photography, videography, and content marketing. “We all have a responsibility to support students, including through mentorship and work experiences, to prepare them for their careers after graduation,” Soukup noted. “With such a solid team of Deaf talent in graphic and web design, photography, and videography, CSD Creative’s new collaboration is a great opportunity for RIT/NTID students to gain valuable co-op experience, and sharpen their professional skills.”
“We want students to see CSD Creative as a resource throughout their academic studies, and to consider CSD as a potential career choice,” Soukup added. “It’s a win-win situation for all involved.”
For more information, contact Gary Behm (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.ntid.rit.edu/cat.
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