It has been and continues to be a wonderful privilege to serve the community in the great state of Minnesota. For nearly 20 years, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) has had a significant presence in the state as an employer, a provider of programs and services, and as a participating and contributing member of your community. We are proud to be in Minnesota, and we look forward to being an active supporter of the Minnesota deaf community in the years to come.
The world has changed significantly since CSD first began providing services in the state in the 1990s. Technology has transformed (and is continuing to transform) the way we communicate and interact with the world around us. CSD has always sought to use new technology in ways that can directly enhance the life experience of our community. CSD’s role in introducing the first nationwide video relay service (VRS) is a noteworthy example. For many deaf people, VRS completely replaced older text or TTY-based relay services. VRS dramatically improved the quality of communication between a signing deaf caller and the voice user on the receiving end by allowing a deaf person to communicate more naturally and effectively in their native language.
that can directly enhance the life experience of our community.
Today, CSD is still hard at work innovating ways to further improve communication and access to vital programs and services. In recent years, we have gone through a significant transformation as a company to strengthen our ability to develop technology-centered solutions for the deaf and hard of hearing community. We want to create more employment opportunities for deaf people. We believe there should be universal access to communication, regardless of where and when access is needed. We want to support and strengthen all organizations that provide essential community-facing programs and services. We also want to impact deaf people beyond the borders of this country, and our aspiration is to affect positive change for the entire community worldwide.
These are big and ambitious goals that we have set for ourselves. All of us at CSD are fiercely committed to this vision for our community’s future. However, this cannot and will not be successful if we pursue it alone. As an organization, our service model must evolve, and we must invest in community and organizational partnerships. We must engage the support and participation of our community in order to achieve the kind of future we believe is possible. Together, we can accomplish so much more.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Jimmy Beldon, Christopher Soukup, Pat Myers, Patty McCutcheon, Brandi Rarus.
We are pleased to announce that CSD has formed a major, long-term partnership with Keystone Interpreting Solutions (KIS) to expand statewide access to quality sign language interpreting services throughout the state of Minnesota. We believe that KIS shares our core values and that they exist for the purpose of supporting and serving the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community. KIS co-founders Jimmy Beldon and Patty McCutcheon have deep roots in the state and have been leaders in the interpreting profession for decades. They have both been recognized locally, as well as nationally, for their contributions to the field of interpreting and for their contributions to the community.
KIS will be focusing on local relationship management and will be leading the local delivery of services. CSD will be transitioning responsibility for the customers that we support today in Minnesota to KIS. They will be expanding their operation in Minnesota to ensure the total needs of interpreters, customers and the deaf community are being fully supported. KIS will be relocating to the current CSD office in St. Paul and will be co-located with CSD’s local community-facing programs: adult basic education; ASL training; and domestic violence advocacy, awareness and prevention.
CSD is thoroughly committed to supporting our partner, KIS, as well as the entire Minnesota community during this period of change and transition. We are working closely with KIS to introduce next-generation solutions for improving delivery of on-site interpreting services and, when appropriate, quality access to video interpreting as a resource. CSD has been developing web and mobile software designed to improve the service experience for everyone involved in the delivery of interpreting services from the customer to the interpreter to the deaf community end users. We will be making this technology available statewide in Minnesota through our new partnership with KIS.
CSD remains devoted to the community in Minnesota, and we are thrilled to be able to deepen our roots in the state by expanding our operational presence through our new partnership with KIS. Members of our national leadership team will be spending time in Minnesota in the weeks ahead to provide additional information—both about our local presence, as well as our global vision for our community.
and we are thrilled to be able to deepen our roots in the state.
Thank you all for being a part of our journey. We deeply appreciate your support and your contributions to our wonderful community.
Chief Executive Officer