Expand Your Workforce to Include The Deaf Community

Posted: Updated:

While there are arguably many minority groups that are grossly underutilized in the workforce, I'd wager that most people do not consider the Deaf community when thinking about diversity and inclusion strategies. The Deaf community shares a unique culture that is closely networked, but few employers know how to tap into this community, which comprises 10 percent of the population.

In fact, many people probably see barriers for the Deaf community when it comes to employment, rather than opportunity.

As someone who has worked with the Deaf community in my role with LUNA Language Services and seen the invaluable contributions they make in the workplace, I’d like to change that.

The causes of Deafness are varied and because hearing loss does not target one type of individual over another, the Deaf community is already very diverse.  There are Deaf housewives and Deaf professionals. There are Deaf African Americans and Deaf Latinos. There are Deaf therapists and Deaf pre-school teachers. There are educated and trained Deaf individuals with competitive college degrees and vocational certificates waiting for a company to recognize their abilities, not their disability.

Hiring a Deaf individual is inviting someone into your organization who carries a unique perspective to the world, and likely, to your company. Because people with a hearing loss problem solve their way through a hearing world every day, Deaf individuals often bring that same critical thinking skill to the workplace. With a fluency in American Sign Language as his or her first language, Deaf people already work diligently at communication and covet mutual understanding in regular conversations.

Being visually oriented, a Deaf team member may see details of a particular situation or project that are missed by others.Partnering with organizations like Tangram and LUNA Language Services is a great first step for tapping into the employment resources and talent that is marginalized by other organizations. Tangram Business Resourcing offers training and support to employers who are interested in diversifying their workforce through the underutilized talent pool of individuals with all types of disabilities. Their mission is focused on tearing down stereotypes and barriers that exist between employers and applicants. Members of the disability community can then find competitive and sustainable employment based on the skills they bring to the table, and businesses can reap the bottom line benefits of building a diverse workforce.

Sept. 24-30 is International Week of the Deaf and October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so there is no better time for your company to begin thinking about how to engage the disability community to support your business goals. You will encourage personal growth in your employees and help change the focus for the Deaf community from barriers to possibilities.

Rebecca Buchan is director of ASL services and education at LUNA Language Services.

  • Perspectives

    • Circling Back on WeWork

      Back in July when we first discussed WeWork, this fast-growing but money-losing venture was one of the most talked-about IPOs in years. At that time, we noted that it was too early to say what would happen, but “it should be very interesting to watch it all play out.” Turns out, that was a massive understatement!

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (IIB Photo/Alex Brown)

      India Wants to Partner with Indiana on Sports

      Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger says a recent trade trip to India included a rare meeting that produced some interesting results.  Schellinger and Governor Eric Holcomb were granted an audience with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  “We were taken aback at how well he knew Indiana,” said Schellinger. “He knew our (economic) background, our educational background, our history of sports statewide,” said Schellinger, who added...

    • (Image courtesy of Indiana State University)

      ISU 'Dreams' of Major Sports Facilities Improvement

      When Indiana State University developed a master plan for its campus, it didn’t include sports and athletic facilities. That’s about to change.  The university this week revealed a major plan for their sports facilities, according to a report from The Tribune Star of Terre Haute. 

    • Circling Back on WeWork

      Back in July when we first discussed WeWork, this fast-growing but money-losing venture was one of the most talked-about IPOs in years. At that time, we noted that it was too early to say what would happen, but “it should be very interesting to watch it all play out.” Turns out, that was a massive understatement!

    • (Image Courtesy: Purdue Agricultural Communication)

      Slow Harvest in Indiana, Mixed Yield Estimates

      As fall harvest rolls along across the Corn Belt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated its predictions of the size of the nation’s corn and soybean crops. In Indiana, the data shows the state’s corn yield has improved, while soybeans dropped over the past month. 

    • Lauren Petersen and Johna Norton

      United Way Names New Board Members

      United Way of Central Indiana has elected Lauren Petersen (pictured) and Johna Norton (pictured) its newest board members. Petersen currently serves as TechPoint’s senior director of relationship management. She graduated summa cum laude from Ball State University in 2011 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and development. Norton serves senior vice president, Global Quality for Eli Lilly and Co.