Common misconceptions when hiring Deaf workers

Jobs Fair 2009
Jobs Fair and Skills Expo 2009 held at SM North EDSA, July 23

After participating in the recent Jobs Fair and Skills Expo for Persons With Disabilities, I feel deeply saddened about the current state of our brothers and sisters who have physical impairment. Despite the unrelenting government’s efforts in showcasing skills and crafts of disabled people and putting up this job hiring programs even as far back as I can remember (Hey! They have already been doing that for 31 years!), still, a great majority of them remain unemployed. What gives?

I’m not discounting the efforts made by the Philippine government. I truly am grateful and very supportive about what they have been doing for our PWD citizens. I have lauded their labors and blogged about their successes a few times here, here, here and here. But I believe there is something amiss with this system of conducting job fairs for PWDs.

Most Deaf people are jobless

It pains me to see that nearly 80% of those who sought for job placements are deaf people as compared to other persons with disabilities. Don’t get me wrong. This is somewhat a positive trait. Deaf people don’t want to stay idle. They want to fend for themselves and don’t want to depend on their parents for survival. They want to be productive.

The activity’s main emcee pointed out that deaf people comprise the majority of job seekers because of their strong and vast networking. One deaf can easily send text messages to all his friends and immediately, nearly all of them responded with enthusiasm. Another reason might be because they are very mobile. No access barriers can hinder them from trooping to the venue. The same thing may not be applied to those who move around in wheelchairs or are visually impaired.

Still, I cannot discount the observation that most deaf people are either unemployed or underemployed. I’m starting to believe that job fairs are a waste of time and resources.

Sorry we can’t hire them because…

Ever since I became involved with training deaf people and job matching them for nearly 20 years now, I am in constant contact with some employers and industry leaders and kept abreast with the latest trend in computer technology. From MS-DOS to Windows Vista, Lotus 123 to Microsoft Excel and dBase III+ to MySQL PHP programming, data encoding to web page developing and graphics animation. I self-studied them and even made especially designed manuals to keep our deaf students updated.

But every time I assist our graduates to possible employers, majorty of them have the same apprehensions. Most companies and hearing employers think it’s difficult for the deaf to work in the office because of these reasons starting with the phrase “Sorry, we can’t hire them because…

  • they can’t hear our instructions.
  • we don’t know sign language. We have to hire a sign language interpreter just to accommodate them.
  • the deaf can’t hear their voices so they cannot control them. It would be a bother to the rest of the office workers.
  • it will be difficult to talk to them.
  • they can’t understand English or Tagalog. They can’t lipread. We don’t have time to write instructions on paper.
  • we don’t have time and additional manpower to train them. Maybe they are difficult to train.
  • they are not aware of what is happening around so they are prone to accidents.
  • we’re sure deaf people cannot adjust to pressures in the office.

To some extent, these perceptions may sound true. Now how do we deal with these negative notions?

Employer or employee problem?

I personally believe that these reactions are unfounded and highly judgmental. They haven’t experienced hiring a deaf person and yet, these unconstructive responses are already in their mind set.

During the event, there was a lecture about how to make a good resume and other things to prepare a job hunter before going to the company. When she asked the audience if they have questions I volunteered to inquire. I asked about what pointers can she give to the deaf applicants.

She replied honestly that she has no special pointers to give them except to be prepared for the battle ahead. She even solicits other responses from others who experienced hiring deaf persons. Sadly, no one replied.

Is it really a problem with the employer’s perception? Or, it’s the deaf person who has the power to change these common misconceptions, accept the challenge, improve himself and do something positive to counteract this negativism? Any ideas anyone? 🙂


Sorry po. The name of the eloquent lady speaker slipped my very dull and aging memory. I’ll inquire about her name later.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

31st NDPR Week Highlights

I have collected a few news articles about the recent celebration of the 31st National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week. This event was observed nationwide and various local government agencies as well as Persons With Disabilities groups held their own activities and commemorations.

Although the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) is the lead government agency tasked for the celebration, local government units as well as other PWD groups also had their own activities. If you know of any NDPR Week celebration that was held, kindly post your comment below including the web links. I will definitely add them here. 🙂

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

“Dinig Sana Kita” 2nd Top grosser

Mike Sandejas’ “Dinig Sana Kita,” featuring his daughter Zoe and deaf performer Rome Mallari became the second top grossing film behind Dennis Trillo’s “Astig”.

The movie, about a deaf boy who loves to dance and a troubled rocker girl who abuses her hearing, sold a total of 2,080 tickets, amounting to P125,480 as against 2,512 amounting to P137,890 of this year’s top grosser. Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, released on Friday the unofficial results by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) sales and accounts division.

Incidentally, “Dinig Sana Kita” won three awards. These are the “National Council for Children’s Television Award”, “Audience Choice (Full Length)” and “Best Musical Score”.

The awarding ceremonies of Cinemalaya Cinco took take place earlier tonight, July 26, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This marked the end of the 10-day film festival that kicked off last July 17, 2009.

View the complete list of winners here.

To Mike and Zoe together with Romalito, mabuhay po kayo! Salamat at itinaguyod ninyo ang kapakanan ng mga taong may kapansanan sa pandinig!

Yay! First 60,000 visits!

Again, more than two months and nine posts later, I now achieved another milestone in my blogging career! Based on my WordPress Blog Stats my blog had been visited 60,000 times! Hooray for me! hehehe

Although these two months have been lean in terms of my blog postings (only nine as compared to 18 two months ago), still, I was able to entice 10,000 visitors to read my blog. Sorry for this. These two months have been busy months for me. Aside from preparing for the opening of our 1st semester classes where we had a blessed experienced for the first time a surge in enrollment for our freshmen, we were getting ready for the “National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week” and the First Philippine Web Design Conference. I’m also doing web design works for companies including a very major one for the government. But I don’t complain. These are blessings from God. Who am I to grumble? 🙂

My top viewers are still the Americans with 41% of the total although they have gone down by 4 points. My Filipino viewers increased to 38% from 33% two months ago. The rest (21%) came from other countries. Most likely the reason for the increase of Filipino visitors is because of my announcement about the indie movie “Dinig Sana Kita” which has generated 12 comments and nearly a thousand page views. Pretty soon, my countrymen would comprise half of my visitors. 🙂

My top blog post remains about “Heather and Marlee” while my top vlog is still “Deaf Stress“.

Now, on to my next 70,000 visitors!