Employment campaign features Chandler man SanTan Sun News

Employment campaign features Chandler man

May 24th, 2021 STSN Staff
Employment campaign features Chandler man
Business
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SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

A Chandler man is the focus of a new drive to persuade employers to hire deaf people and the hard of hearing.

The statewide employment campaign by the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing is highlighting Andrew Cohen, who is blind and deaf

Cohen is one of several individuals the agency is featuring in its effort to encourage businesses to hire within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and deaf/blind communities.

Arizona has more than 1.1 individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind and workers within this group have been traditionally unemployed or underemployed on a large scale.

“We are asking for employers to step forward with a willingness to hire from our community,” said Sherri Collins, executive director of ACDHH. “There are many talented individuals that just aren’t getting the chance they deserve.

“We are looking to help employers create that opportunity through free training provided by our agency, as well as through our jobs board.”

Cohen is a software engineer with the Vanguard Group.

DeafBlindness refers to a combined vision and hearing loss.

Despite what many would consider severe limitations, Cohen thrives in his work at the Vanguard Group through a combination of interpreters and technology solutions to communicate in his daily activities.

He said when looking for a job, despite being well-qualified, he had to submit hundreds of applications before getting a handful of interviews.

“Discrimination is rarely an act of intent,” he says. “We cannot take it too personal. We don’t know what we don’t know. It takes conscious efforts to become open-minded and learn.

“I get asked all the time on every little thing possible. How do I see? How can I communicate? It is much more beneficial to take the time to educate on various ways we can achieve goals together and build allyships.”

Cohen, who has recently become a commissioner with the ACDHH, says he got involved with the employment campaign to serve as an example that employers should consider all applicants, despite any preconceived notions they might have about a disability.

Collins, who is also deaf, said that employers need to remember that every candidate is looking for the same thing – an opportunity.

“There are so many strong, qualified candidates for position in all walks of life in the deaf and hard of hearing community,” she said. “A person’s skills and qualifications should be why they are considered, not their level of hearing.”

For more information on the Let’s Get To Work program, or to participate as an employer, visit changeyourperception.org.

About the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

The Commission is a national leader in the provision of communication access, support services and community empowerment throughout Arizona. The Commission provides communication access and support, distributes free equipment, serves as a resource and advocate, licenses American Sign Language interpreters and administers the Let’s Get to Work program.

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