What life is like for the deaf and hard of hearing (HOH) has changed significantly in the past half century. Policy changes and new technologies have provided solutions for many, and yet some hurdles have stayed the same.
U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and CSD are proud to announce a strategic alliance to increase the employment rate for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind individuals.
September is National Deaf Awareness month. Check out the interview in MedGadget.com with our CEO, Chris Soukup.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
48 million people in America are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. How do you reach them?
There are many creative agencies that focus on, or claim to understand, the disability market, but all people with “disabilities” can’t be lumped into one group. Marketing to a person who is blind, or a person who uses a wheelchair, isn’t the same thing as marketing to a Deaf person.
93% of the Deaf people surveyed prefer to communicate in their native language.
ASL is the 4th most commonly-used language in the United States and is prevalently used by the Deaf community, yet most companies rely on written English to communicate to them. Different backgrounds, languages, and social norms – the Deaf community is a valuable, but complicated, market to reach.
Our experience benefits your brand.
It isn’t that other agencies focusing on the disability market mean to miss the mark – they just don’t have the cultural insight necessary to effectively communicate. At CSD Creative, where I work as a Creative Director, our Deaf lens allows us to truly understand how to approach marketing to the Deaf community.
CSD Creative helps you reach the Deaf Community.
The Deaf Community includes:
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals
- Children of deaf adults, family members
- Teachers of the deaf, and others who regularly interact with deaf people
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing Organizations
CSD Creative has insight into the Deaf community that other creative agencies simply can’t access.
CSD Creative knows the Deaf community because we are the Deaf community.
As the creative arm of Communication Service for the Deaf, our 40 years of experience benefit your company. We have a long history within the Deaf community; our relationships and reputation allow us to reach Deaf individuals where they live – Deaf schools, Deaf clubs, and Deaf online communities. We always keep the Deaf perspective central to everything we do. As a Deaf-led and Deaf-powered agency, CSD Creative can introduce your brand to this niche market.
Reach a new market with #DeafTalent.
Reaching the Deaf market can benefit your business or organization, but only if you get the right message across. We work with Deaf talent – from web developers, directors, filmmakers and designers – to make sure your brand puts its best face forward.
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 (email@example.com) or visit www.ntid.rit.edu/cat.
SEATTLE [March 20, 2017] — Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services (ADWAS) announced today that its National Deaf Hotline is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Deaf and hard of hearing individuals are 150% more likely to be victims of assault, abuse and bullying in their lifetime. Domestic violence impacts one out of every two Deaf women, and one out of every six Deaf men,” said Tiffany Williams, ADWAS Executive Director.
“The National Deaf Hotline addresses this need with Deaf advocates who provide specialized resources and assistance on domestic violence/sexual assault.”
ADWAS collaborates with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to provide Deaf advocates fluent in American Sign Language for the National Deaf Hotline. Until now, the hotline was only available during limited hours, with after-hour calls being handled by hearing advocates. “This line isn’t just for survivors,” Williams said. “It’s also for their families, friends, and support network. So it was important that we expand the hours to 24 hours. Domestic violence isn’t something that happens only during business hours; it happens at any time of the day or night, and we want to make sure survivors and supporters have culturally and linguistically accessible support.”
In 2016, CSD launched a “Who Will Answer?” campaign, which inspired CSD to create Unites. Unites is a CSD program that collaborates with partnering organizations to create change and solve community needs. Among the first priorities was the need for a 24-hour hotline serving Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, and Hard of Hearing individuals, and Unites brought together 15 sister agencies across the nation to raise awareness about this need and to participate in crowdfunding efforts. ADWAS’ efforts led to the National Deaf Hotline being granted a three-year, $250,000 fund for the hotline, which meant ADWAS could hire five additional advocates.
“Launching our first Unites Campaign to support a 24-hour hotline was a natural step for CSD,” said CSD Chief Executive Officer Chris Soukup. “This collaboration through our sister agencies and ADWAS has proven how powerful and successful the community can be when we come together to create change that is life-changing.”
Williams said, “We are excited about the expansion of the new hours will provide. The goal is to provide crisis resources, information and referral, technical assistance, and outreach on domestic violence and sexual assault. We want people to be able to call at any time, because that would mean much more communication accessibility anytime and anywhere and that is vital for our survivors.”
By Jessica Ellison
Danny Lacey is a partner and advisor for Kramer Wealth Managers. He leads Kramer’s advisory team for the western states where he serves pre-retirees and retirees, corporate executives, business owners, and not-for-profit organizations.
Danny has served on the board for 3 years and we’re excited to have him serve as Board Chair. We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Danny before the holidays. Keep reading to get to know him a little better!
CSD: What are the most important goals you will work on with CSD?
Danny Lacey: I want to be a strong and effective facilitator between CSD & its board members. I plan to ensure that our board duties, expectations and efforts are fully aligned with CSD’s vision and mission. I also think it’s very important to promote dialogue with people outside of CSD so that we can share stories about the wider Deaf community with the world, to share the wide range of possibilities in the journey of reimagining communication together.
CSD: What do you see as Deaf America’s greatest strengths and challenges?
Danny Lacey: This is truly an exciting time for Deaf America. Thanks to advancements in technology, particularly social media, we continue to enjoy learning about success stories in the Deaf community every day. We believe that we are exceptional in all that we do. Our biggest challenge right now is not showing it enough in the global society.
CSD: CSD believes that instead of separate hearing and Deaf worlds that there really is just One World – and we all share it. What is your vision of One World? How do you see us getting there?
Danny Lacey: For over 40 years, CSD’s mission has been to improve the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people by continuously aiming to build a more inclusive, accessible world. Now, more than ever, it is the perfect time for CSD to be at the forefront of pursuing the One World vision, and in demonstrating all that is truly possible in the One World.
CSD: What kind of food will we find on your table this holiday season?
Danny Lacey: Along with great conversations and much laughter at the dinner table, my family loves sharing Pecan & Chocolate Chip Pie — just a perfect way to celebrate our holiday season!
By Ryan Hutchison
In 1806 the Dowager Empress Maria Fedoronova (Wife of Tsar Alexander III) was walking in Pavlosk Park outside St. Petersburg, Russia. A young boy, Aleksandre Moeller, and his escort passed her without word. The Empress stopped the escort and inquired why the boy did not greet her; she was told he was Deaf and unable to communicate. After a restless night considering the boy and his inability to communicate and learn, the Empress began inquiring about deafness and education, and how the Russian empire could ensure that Deaf students like Aleksandre learn and succeed. She sent missives across Europe seeking the best educators of the Deaf, and soon received Jean-Baptiste Jauffret from the then-named Institut Royal des Sourds-Muets de Paris. With Empress Maria’s funding and Monsieur Jauffret’s knowledge, the first Russian school for the Deaf opened on December 2nd, 1806.
On the 25th of May, 1814, Thomas Gallaudet first met the daughter of a neighbor, Alice Cogswell. He asked her father, Dr. Mason Cogswell, why she wasn’t playing with the other children and learned she was Deaf and unable to communicate. His interest was piqued, and he sat beside her drawing and writing the names of objects with a stick in the dirt – and she understood. It was a eureka moment for Alice’s father, who promptly sent Thomas to Europe to find better ways to educate Deaf children in the United States. Thomas came upon the director of the very same school for the Deaf (Institut Royal des Sourds-Muets) and brought Laurent Clerc, a successful graduate of the school, back with him to America. Together they established the American School for the Deaf in 1817.
Incredible, right? I knew the story about Thomas Gallaudet and the founding of the American School for the Deaf, but had no idea of the similarities of the founding of both schools. It’s quite amazing to recognize the thought of providing sign language to Deaf children was a revolutionary concept, and a single school in Paris was a catalyst for what was to become a golden age for Deaf education in both Russia and America. That both Empress Maria & Dr. Cogswell recognized the need for new ideas & fresh approaches for Deaf education and sponsored cultural exchange to spark those ideas is similar to the opportunity that brought CSD to Russia. The US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange project recognizes the need for invigoration within the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) community and is linking our countries together to focus on abilities, foster inclusion, and spark positive change.
The need for innovation and cultural exchange of new ideas for the education of Deaf children today is as great as it was 200 years ago. Despite the clear benefits Deaf children receive from sign language use and bilingual education, a growing focus on oralism and “fixing” Deaf children have dropped a new generation of children into the world without deep foundations of any language in either Russia or the United States. Outcomes for our Deaf children continue to decline, and more and more students are falling behind. We must create a new wave of innovation and invigoration of bilingual education – and do it with technology and through leadership.
Two hundred and ten years after the first Russian Deaf school was founded in St. Petersburg, a group of four and five-year old Deaf children gathered in a classroom to experience our bilingual storybook app, created through a collaboration with our American colleagues and Russian partners at Ya Tebya Slyshu. I’m so excited to continue to share this storybook app. We’re already receiving great feedback on how we can make it even better.
I’m even more excited to exchange knowledge and create a network of partners & friends who believe like we do that bilingual education provides transformative impact on students. The power of collaboration is real – we at CSD have seen it through our Who Will Answer campaign and it is at the heart of our Unites program. I look forward to continuing to create relationships and coalitions through this project in both Russia and the US so we can march unified towards a better future for our children, linked arm to arm.