Thursday, March 31, 2011

Professional Development for Deaf Professionals

I'm really interested in developing some kind of materials for professional development for NTID grads. I saw some statistics that say our students enter the job market at the same pay rate as their hearing colleagues, but when they have been in the market for a while, they stop making the same sort of gains in position and salary. My thought is that our students aren't being promoted to management positions at the same rate as their hearing colleagues. I think that there may be five reasons for this:
  1. Weak written English skills
  2. Lack of opportunities to be mentored
  3. They don't "overhear", so soft skills information isn't being passed to them in that way
  4. Lack of appropriate professional development opportunities. (I don't believe simply providing an interpreter at a workshop is enough. And I am not sure that employers are actually making these programs available due to the additional cost of interpreters.)
  5. Unwillingness by Deaf professionals to move around, due to the difficulty of training hearing co-workers how to communicate. Once Deaf professionals get things worked out, they may be reluctant to repeat the process. 
Here are the topics I believe would be useful:
  • Personal goal setting
  • Time management
  • Conducting a meeting
  • Project management
  • Some kind of negotiation skills training 
  • Focused business writing: emails, meeting minutes, meeting agendas, status reports
  • Presentation skills
  • Self-branding and planning your career
I saw some e-learning that was developed at Cornell. The "class" has some material that the student does on his own, and then some webinar sessions where the students are "together". I want the self-pace material to be developed in a way that takes advantages of ASL features. I am planning to work on a prototype of one of these as a "Major Design Project." 


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