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GAERF Funding Supports Career Site For Deaf Students

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

RESTON, VA...The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester, NY has launched an interactive web site that provides information on graphic communications careers for deaf and hard of hearing.  The web site, geared to attract deaf high school students exploring career options, can be accessed at: www.graphcomm4deaf.org.  Funding for the web site was provided through a three-year grant from the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF).

"The intent of the web site is to help young deaf people make decisions about what they want to do with their life after high school and, in particular, help them learn more about the graphic communications field as a viable career choice," explains Professor Tom Raco, lead principal investigator on the web site.  Raco worked with three other principal investigators, John Cox, Robb Adams and Jean-Guy Naud, to complete the web site project.  All are faculty or staff at NTID.

The fully captioned web site offers sophisticated, interactive multimedia presentations about the variety of jobs available for the deaf in the graphic communications industry, including video profiles of four successful deaf professionals currently employed in the field.  Students are able to communicate with these professionals via e-mail, and with two highly-trained high school guidance counselors.  In addition, visitors to the site can access other resources, including links to post-secondary programs in graphic communications.
Deaf persons in the United States have historically been under-trained, under-employed and unemployed in most career areas.  Many deaf workers were hired as linotype operators, running noisy machines that bothered their hearing peers.  The influence of computer technology on graphic communications during the 1970s led to the elimination of typesetting and other related jobs.

The involvement of the deaf population in graphic communications has diminished significantly since the late 1970s and early 1980s, a development that has been detrimental to both the deaf and the graphic communications industry.  "NTID's new web site is a crucial first step in communicating to the deaf, and educators of the deaf, that there are a multitude of exciting career opportunities awaiting them in our industry," says GAERF President Ralph J. Nappi.

Although a prototype of the site was twice tested with some 30 to 40 deaf and hard of hearing high school students during earlier phases of the project, Raco and his team will conduct another round of evaluations for the next four months.  The team will visit several schools for the deaf, as well as one public mainstream school where a sizeable deaf population operates within a predominantly hearing environment, to obtain student, teacher and counselor feedback.




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