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.
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Top three reasons why you should hire deaf employees
Thousands of highly educated and qualified deaf and hard of hearing individuals are continually looking for jobs, but because of the prejudice among most of the employers out there, their applications are ignored most of the time or their interviews are withdrawn upon learning about their hearing loss. In this situation, the employers, as well as the deaf and hard of hearing candidates, lose out on an excellent opportunity to help each other become better.
There are three top reasons why organizations should hire deaf and hard of hearing employees:
1. Deaf and hard of hearing people spend almost all their lives trying to adapt to their environment as best they can, and that ability help to augment their hearing loss which often make them determined and flexible when faced with various challenges. Their out-of-the-box creativity and problem-solving skills can bring unique solutions to the organizations.
2. Hiring deaf and hard of hearing employees can bring to your team a whole new perspective in serving others. And, if your organization happens to serve a lot of deaf consumers, having reliable employees who are responsible and hardworking can be a fantastic addition to your business.
3. Deaf and hard of hearing employees can be an excellent addition to your company as a part of the diverse workforce that you may want for your business which also provides the opportunity to enrich the culture of your business.
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