Press Release (ePRNews.com) - Washington, D.C. - Apr 19, 2016 - CSD Announces Launch of CSD Works and Partnership with Uber
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“It’s time for action. It’s time to equalize economic opportunity for Deaf people.”
70% of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Americans Are Under or Unemployed
With the launch of CSD Works and a new partnership with Uber, CSD is creating economic opportunities for Deaf and hard of hearing community.
Washington, D.C. — April 18, 2016 – Finding meaningful economic opportunities has long been a challenge for Americans with disabilities, Deaf and hard of hearing people included. According to the 2013 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census, only 36.6% of American adults with hearing loss are employed full time. Indicators point towards the general public perception and attitudes toward Deaf people as a major factor behind this crisis.
“The issue is not with our community—or our ability to work. Our main barrier is getting people to recognize value in our workforce,” said Chris Soukup, the Chief Executive Officer at CSD.
Ryan Hutchison, the Vice President of CSD Neighborhood, added: “The simple fact is most people have never met a Deaf person, and don’t have an understanding of the Deaf community beyond typical stereotypes.”
Hutchison cites unequal access to appropriate learning, training, and certification resources as another barrier. “For many Deaf people, education delivered in American Sign Language is the best approach to learning. These resources, however, are few and far in between.”
Without equal access to these resources, Deaf and hard of hearing individuals are often unable to fully prepare themselves for employment or other economic opportunities, and at a disadvantage when seeking work.
CSD Works presents solutions to reverse these trends, bringing economic opportunity to the Deaf and hard of hearing community. “Ensuring Deaf and hard of hearing people are supported with communication access resources doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive,” Hutchison said.
As the economy becomes increasingly driven by technology-based platforms, communication accessibility for Deaf individuals can be built directly into the user interface through universal design. One prominent example of a company that’s utilized this approach is Uber Technologies, Inc., the first strategic partner for CSD Works.
“Uber incorporated accessible technology in their app, providing unprecedented access for the Deaf community to become driver partners.” Soukup said.
As part of the partnership, CSD Works has created an online library of Uber-specific informational resources delivered in American Sign Language (ASL).These resources are freely available to Deaf and hard of hearing people who sign up for the CSD Works program.
“Our partnership provides more than a simple opportunity for Deaf Americans to drive users around; it’s an opportunity to make connections between people. It’s a way to build bridges between Deaf and hearing, to bring dignity and equity through work,” Hutchison said.
CSD plans on pursuing more strategic corporate partners and creating more job opportunities nationally. With each strategic partner, CSD Works will create new pathways to available paid work opportunities, ensure appropriate communication access, and support Deaf success through ASL-based training and job skills certification courses.
“We want to invest in skills and training,” Hutchison said, “rather than benefits programs.” Hutchison pointed out that the federal government spends over $140 billion in tax dollars on Social Security Disability per year, but only $3 billion on vocational rehabilitation.
As America’s Deaf workforce falls further behind and the insolvency of federal benefits loom, Hutchison said: “It’s time for action. It’s time to equalize economic opportunity for Deaf people.”
For more information, visit www.CSD.org/works/about/
Communication Service for the Deaf