Disability agency serving 3,424 jobseekers transferred from waiting lists since January 1

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Department of Rehabilitation Services has transferred 3,424 job seekers with significant disabilities from waiting lists to active caseloads since January 1.

DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services staff began providing career planning and employments services to 505 new clients in the most recent group moved from waiting lists on November 7.

In 2017, VR and VS staff helped 2,014 clients successfully prepare for and find employment and served 11,765 Oklahomans with disabilities working towards that goal. The new taxpayers earned an average of $22,212 per year and paid $3,332 in average taxes, while reducing or eliminating dependence on disability benefits and government services.

DRS’ waiting lists have been in place since March 13, 2017, due to prior year revenue reductions.

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OU's new American Sign Language program inspires communication across campus

On Tuesdays and Fridays in Collings Hall 223, an entire class period goes by without a single word spoken. 

The classroom is completely quiet — at no point do the students speak out loud to professor Gary Davis, and he doesn’t speak out loud to them. 

That’s because Davis is deaf and is teaching his students sign language.

The silence is only ever broken by students’ laughter — usually when Davis pokes fun at a student’s sloppy use of a sign and shows the student the correct sign, much like a Spanish professor correcting the pronunciation of a word.

Davis, an adjunct professor, is teaching one of the first American Sign Language courses offered at OU — a program administrators have pursued for many years that finally came to fruition fall 2017.

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