Deaf And Unemployed: 1,000+ Applications But Still No Full-Time Job

Amanda Koller is getting her second master's degree. She has applied for more than 1,100 jobs in the past year. She hasn't gotten any full-time, permanent job offers.

She is also profoundly deaf.

The unemployment rate among the deaf is staggering. Fewer than 40 percent of those with a hearing disability work full time, according to the Yang-Tan Institute at Cornell University's analysis of 2016 American Community Survey data. Despite improvements in technology and accommodations that are making it easier for deaf people to work and communicate, deaf job hunters say employers still don't believe they can do the work.

"I apply to grocery stores and I can't even get a job there," said Koller, who lives outside Washington, D.C. "If you can't hear or speak right, you're not going to get a job. I don't think it matters what the company is, or what your background and work experience is."

On paper, Koller's background is impressive. She has a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan University and a bachelor's in health sciences from Temple University. She's currently working toward a second master's in health care quality management from George Washington University.

Read more here

Read More

Fort Sill sued for ending contract that employs the blind

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma state agency is suing the federal government in an attempt to block a local military base from ending its contract with a vendor who employs blind workers.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services filed the lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday. That agency is tasked with expanding independence and economic self-sufficiency for disabled Oklahomans. The lawsuit is against the United States of America, by and through Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of the Army Mark Esper.

The complaint requests a restraining order and injunctive relief to block Fort Sill, the Army post in Lawton, from ending its contract with a cafeteria services vendor.

The argument hinges on the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Act. The law was passed in the 1930s and gives priority to blind vendors, who are licensed as so through the state, when choosing vendors operating on federal property, such as military installations.

The current vendor, David Altstatt, is the Department of Rehabilitation Services-appointed blind vendor for the Army post. The current contract includes one base year and four option years, and Altstatt’s company is in the second option year, according to the lawsuit. In February, the defendants notified rehabilitation services officials that they intended to terminate the contract. The department argues that the defendants didn’t give proper notification to the U.S. secretary of education, who oversees the program. The Oklahoma rehabilitation department requested arbitration with that secretary and defendants in April, according to the lawsuit. In August, the defendants issued a solicitation for a replacement vendor. That solicitation is what the lawsuit attempts to block.

Read More

Deaf-Blind Patrons Should Be Able to Go to the Movies Too

A Pennsylvania man asked a Cinemark Theatre in Pittsburgh to supply a tactile interpreter. The theatre denied his request. 

Paul McGann, a deaf-blind man who uses tactile interpretation to enjoy movies, was denied his request of tactile interpreter when he wanted to see the 2014 movie "Gone GirlWhen presented the case the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Cinemark in favor of the plaintiff.

"Federal disability law requires movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday." (Quotation from source linked in title)  

OKLAHOMA STATE COURT RULES ON STATE BD. OF EXAMINERS OF CERTIFIED COURTROOM INTERPRETERS

WITHDRAWAL AND REPLACEMENT OF RULE 12 OF THE RULES OF STATE BD. OF EXAMINERS OF CERTIFIED COURTROOM INTERPRETERS
2017 OK 66
Decided: 09/11/2017

THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
 

NOTICE: THIS OPINION HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION. UNTIL RELEASED, IT IS SUBJECT TO REVISION OR WITHDRAWAL.

 

Re: Withdrawal and Replacement of Rule 12 of the Rules of the State Board of Examiners of Certified Courtroom Interpreters

CERTIFIED SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS

As set forth in the Oklahoma Legal Interpreter for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Act, 63 O.S. §2407, et seq., a "qualified legal interpreter" for a deaf or hard-of-hearing individual in the Oklahoma courts shall include an interpreter who has been certified by the State Board of Examiners of Certified Courtroom Interpreters. In order to provide for such a certification process by the Board, Rule 12 of the Rules of the State Board of Examiners of Certified Courtroom Interpreters, Title 20, Chapter 23, App. II, as adopted by order of the Supreme Court, 2015 OK 2, effective January 12, 2015, is hereby withdrawn and replaced in its entirety as set forth on the attached Exhibit.

Done by order of the Oklahoma Supreme Court in conference this 11th day of September, 2017.

Read More