Kevin Southworth grew up with limited hearing but learned to deal with it and had a great career. As an adult he worked as an IT professional while at the same time marrying and having three children. Born with Usher Syndrome, a congenital condition which can cause deafness and blindness, Kevin experienced a dramatic vision loss in his late 30’s and found it hard to rally. He quit working. He felt lost.
Kevin told us, “I had been struggling to find a job since 2008. I thought that my jobsearch [efforts] were useless because my resume and interview skills weren’t strong enough…I started to see my future fade away.”
Things began to turn around when Kevin attended the Helen Keller Center in New York and learned skills and tools to communicate. There he met Sook Hee Choi, now Deaf-Blind Specialist at the LightHouse for the Blind. He moved to Sacramento and despite the distance, took his Department of Rehabilitation counselor, Georgeta Tenase’s suggestion to join the LightHouse’s Employment Immersion Program.
Kevin began to attend the 10-week class at the LightHouse’s Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley in January. He and another student who lived a distance from the Bay Area stayed at the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany while participating. A translator using tactile sign-language conveyed class content to Kevin. Employment Immersion Program Leader Kate Williams tells us that during the first few weeks of the class, Kevin felt lost and didn’t say much. But the warmth of his classmates broke down his reserve and he started to open up. His fellow classmates began to stay after class to chat with him. When the class did mock interviews which are videoed and critiqued, Kevin gave a very successful interview. Program Leader Kate Williams said, “It was so gratifying to see how our program helped Kevin regain enthusiasm and confidence.”
We are proud to announce that Kevin just landed a job at the Seattle LightHouse for the Blind as a Productions Machinist. He’ll be working on aviation parts which will eventually go to Boeing to be used in their aircraft. He says, “The class helped me improve my job search methods, resume, interview skills, etc. Working in Seattle has been my dream for a long time now and it finally came true because of this program!”
Are you ready to re-enter the job market? Or are you looking for work for the first time? It’s a small investment of time – just eight weeks will get you up-to-speed with the latest job-search methods, plus one-on-one counseling and interview practice in a warm, encouraging environment. Our next Employment Immersion session runs from Tuesday, October 15 through Thursday, December 5 and will take place at the LightHouse’s office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, call Kate Williams at 415-694-7324 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.