6 – Job Development and Job Placement

The ultimate goal of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services is the achievement of employment goals resulting in the attainment of gainful employment and independence. To facilitate achievement of consumer employment goals through the job development and placement process, a number of factors should be considered. These factors include:

Marketing to Employers

Federal legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the expansion of technology and related workplace accommodations have greatly contributed to opening doors of opportunity for persons who are hard of hearing or late deafened. In spite of these advances in the workplace, attitudinal obstacles remain. Chief among them are those associated with overcoming employer reluctance due to concerns about communication and safety related to hiring individuals with hearing loss. Communication specialists,  or Rehabilitation Counselors for the Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, who remain abreast of current developments in technology, including telecommunication technology, can help amend and address many of these concerns. The counselor should consider offering employer orientations that include:

Advocating for Workplace Accommodations

Often, persons who are hard of hearing are not willing to call attention to their hearing loss or are unaware of the severity of the hearing loss and tend to become isolated in the workplace. These workers can benefit from access to training to become more aware of appropriate workplace accommodations and ways to effectively assert themselves in addressing their on-the-job communication needs.

The VR counselor can prepare an individual who is hard of hearing or late deafened to be successful in job search, job interview and job orientation. Counseling and practice in the following skills should result in increased consumer confidence and employability:

Job Retention and Career Advancement

Once consumers obtain employment, a desired outcome is that they will retain their jobs and advance in their careers. It is not uncommon, however, for consumers with hearing loss to encounter challenges in their efforts to advance in their careers. These challenges are attributed, at least in part, to communication barriers. These communication barriers may include lack of access to accommodations such as assistive listening devices, and difficulties interacting and communicating with co-workers and supervisors. Factors critical to job retention and advancement may include:

Job Analysis and Work Site Assessment

The VR counselor who is trained as an effective communication specialist can help with employer, employee and co-worker education and technical assistance. This should begin with job analysis to identify the essential tasks of the job and how would the effects of the hearing disability affect performance of these tasks. Specific communication demands of the job and examples to be addressed include:

Environmental factors such as lighting, location of workstation and furniture placement need to be considered. Keeping in mind the consumer’s role in identifying reasonable accommodations, the counselor may offer tools for assessing the accessibility of a work site. Solutions can be defined in terms of Low-Tech, High-Tech or “No-Tech.”

As a consumer is preparing for the world of work and a specific job, the counselor should also prepare him or her for evaluating communication needs on the job and negotiating for reasonable accommodations. Counselors need to educate consumers and employers regarding the following types of reasonable accommodations and examples:

The more in-depth job analysis and job site assessment the VR counselor can do, the more effective job accommodations and solutions can be obtained. An excellent resource for the VR counselor to perform and learn this process is “On the Job With Hearing Loss” by Rebecca Morris.