This year we celebrate 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 75 years of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The theme this year is “Increasing Access and Opportunity,” which is something UDS Community Employment Services staff members continuously work to achieve each day.
Megan’s positive attitude and perseverance enabled her to overcome the additional challenges faced by someone with a hearing impairment seeking employment.
She was referred to UDS Community Employment Services this past summer. After being out of work for more than four years, she was understandably frustrated. UDS staff members worked closely with Megan to help her apply for jobs and take her to interviews.
She wanted to work at the Kohl’s in North Canton, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department store was only doing interviews by phone, which for Megan, required the use of some additional technology to help make this happen. A member of the UDS staff worked with the HR manager at Kohl’s to set up a successful Zoom interview for her and she was hired.
Megan relies on reading lips to communicate, along with the occasional help from a sign language interpreter. She wears a button while at work to identify herself as having a hearing impairment, which helps to foster awareness and understanding when customers ask her questions. Although it is especially hard to read lips right now due to the Ohio mask mandate, she does not let this stop her from living her best life.
Her day starts early to stock the sales floor with new shipments. UDS worked with the Stark County Board of DD to help her find a reliable transportation provider and provided a job coach to assist her through the onboarding and training process. She says of her experience, “UDS worked closely with me to fill out applications and drive me to interviews. I really enjoyed working with UDS and I feel like I really got something from it.”
During the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, UDS Community Employment Services adjusted to the pandemic by providing services remotely/virtually to assist job seekers in obtaining their employment goals. Individualized services for both adults and students transitioning to work are based on personal preferences, interests, needs and strengths, and are designed to accommodate a variety of skills and abilities.