• Arizona
  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

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San Tan Valley Area Information

3 minutes reading time (523 words)

San Tan Valley resident highlights statewide employment campaign

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A statewide employment campaign initiated by the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) is highlighting San Tan Valley resident, Nicole Hlibichuk.

Hlibichuk, who is Deaf, 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 DeafBlind communities. Arizona has more than 1.1 individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or 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," says 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."

Nicole Hlibichuk is the first Deaf certified pharmacy technician at Amazon Pill Pack in Phoenix. She shares that the company has provided interpreters, Amazon chimes and iPads to assist with effective communication. 

"Because I am the first deaf person at Pill Pack, I knew Deaf awareness would be an issue. I knew there would be a learning process for co-workers and managers to learn how to communicate with me." Hlibichuk continued, "It takes patience and a willingness for all involved to effectively work together as a team." 

Hlibichuk added that in the past she faced many obstacles in the workplace because of her deafness. The main challenge was having access to the proper communication methods.  She needed interpreters but none were provided. She was also excluded from staff meetings and did not receive everyday workplace information like other employees received.

By sharing her story, Hlibichuk hopes that more employers will follow in Amazon's footsteps and realize that there's a better success rate when employees can communicate with each other, while allowing for a more diverse workforce. Hlibichuk became involved with the ACDHH because she believes that she and others like her have valuable skills and abilities that should be shared with employers if given the chance. 

"There will always be obstacles to overcome," Hlibichuk said. "I frequently see the same obstacles again and again, but as I learn to overcome them, it becomes easier to face them."

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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