In recent years, technology improvements have made translation easier between those who use ASL and those who speak. However, more than 50% of Deaf Americans do not work due to obstacles to obtaining employment, despite their qualifications. PRIDE Industries offers job training and placement services to help applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing to overcome employment barriers and progress in their careers.
Monica Salazar was one such individual. “I was working at a job manufacturing garments, but was laid off when business slowed down. Looking for a new job is a struggle since I am Deaf and communicate via American Sign Language (ASL). Communication was a barrier – even in getting an interview, I was out of work for half a year and began struggling financially.”
To overcome these challenges, Monica sought help from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services; her counselor suggested that she enroll at PRIDE Ascend in El Paso, TX.
Job Training and Placement for People with Disabilities
PRIDE Ascend was created to meet the growing demand for skilled labor and help people with disabilities overcome employment barriers. The program helps people with disabilities gain technical skills and earn industry-based certifications in El Paso, TX, and Sacramento, CA.
Participants receive an assessment and meet with PRIDE’s dedicated staff to explore career interests and job placement and training opportunities. Each individual receives accommodations, training, and instruction tailored to their needs to ensure workplace success.
Monica graduated the program with an NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) certificate in Construction Technology. She also earned an OSHA 10 Safety Card. Once she obtained the certificate, Ascend’s Employment Services staff placed Monica into a paid internship at the Hampton Inn, which was made possible by generous donors to PRIDE Industries Development and Donor Services.
“After making the connection and sharing information about PRIDE’s job training and placement services, Hampton Inn’s General Manager Gabe Ayoub was very enthusiastic about having Monica as an intern,” said Sezne Hernandez, Employment Placement Specialist.
Ongoing Training and Support after Placement
During her internship, Monica vacuumed the halls, cleaned restrooms, maintained the swimming pool area and gym, did laundry, and more. She excelled in this welcoming environment, and after her 90-day internship, Monica was hired on the spot as a Houseman. In addition to her internship tasks, she uses her construction skills performing maintenance in guest rooms, painting, and caulking.
Along the way, PRIDE Ascend’s job training and placement services were available to Monica. She received resources and encouragement as she transitioned into her full-time position from her internship.
“PRIDE Ascend’s support helped me be successful in my classes, allowing me to obtain a certificate and to gain the skills that I use today in my job,” said Monica. “Through the internship, I was able to learn a lot, and my job coach helped me transition into my new position, which eventually led me to getting hired permanently!
From the support of PRIDE Ascend and my co-workers, I have found success. Through overcoming the challenges of entering a new career field, I have become more motivated and will continue working hard to achieve my goals, including obtaining my driver’s license and buying a vehicle, as I currently take public transportation. I am working to become a supervisor in my department and saving to buy a house.”