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 email@example.com.