Deaf-Blind Specialist - Washington

The mission of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) is to enable each person who is deaf-blind to live and work in his or her community of choice. Authorized by an Act of Congress in 1967, HKNC is the only organization of its kind—providing training and resources exclusively to people age 16 and over who have combined vision and hearing loss. Students travel from across the country to our headquarters in Sands Point, New York, for on-campus training in assistive technology, vocational services, orientation and mobility, communication and independent living, and our regional offices bring HKNC resources to communities throughout the United States. Employment at HKNC is a "one-of-a-kind" experience and at HKNC, we seek employees who have a strong work ethic, strive for excellence, enjoy a challenge, and are highly motivated and creative. 

HKNC currently has an exciting career opportunity available to join the field services team as a deaf-blind specialist in in the state of Washington.  In compliance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and partnering with state vocational rehabilitation and the consumer, the HKNC deaf-blind specialist’s primary goal is to provide one on one, individualized services leading consumers to achievement of employment outcomes. This includes job development, including soft skills training, resume development, completing applications and practice interviewing. The deaf-blind specialist provides communication strategies for the workplace, use of adaptive technology and coordination of community resources for independent living and travel to and from the work site. Creative and innovative job accommodations and accessibility strategies are also included. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following: 

  • Assist with providing one on one direct services in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, with an emphasis on employment outcomes to include: job development, job placement and coaching. Work collaboratively with local service providers to develop a team to execute Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Community partners include Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), community rehabilitation programs (CRPs), schools for the deaf and schools for the blind, and state deaf-blind projects; 
  • Collaborate with consumers, and community partners to identify deaf-blind youth and adults for inclusion in the HKNC National Registry;
  • Provide additional direct services as needed which may include independent activities of daily living (IADL) assistance and other casework as determined on a case by case basis;
  • Educate Vocational Rehabilitation personnel and employers about the capabilities of deaf-blind individuals, implement the dual customer approach outreach with potential employers and share HKNC services/programs; 
  • Assist with identifying professional learning opportunities and the initial assessments for trainings needed in the region, with support from IRPD, to assist with coordination and provision of training.
  • Be the one on one liaison to work with the Helen Keller National Center and Vocational Rehabilitation, and home team members to support a consumer transitioning back to home community after completion of training (includes residential and employment domains). In addition to, but not be limited to, supported employment, customized integrated employment and other areas requested by consumer’s training goals for successful outcomes;
  • Provide training and mentor opportunities to the community and state employment specialists to expand awareness, knowledge and advocacy efforts about work-site related accommodations; work with VR and businesses to create work experience opportunities, leading to employment;
  • Assist with working collaboratively with HKNC Vocational Services to implement best practices in the state/or region, where appropriate;
  • Assist with supporting the Deaf-Blind Projects working with transition age youth, their families and educational personnel, linking educational team with VR and other resources including HKNC and adult services in the community. Attend IEP meetings, when necessary;
  • Provide individualized services to individuals who have additional disabilities, including physical, intellectual and mental challenges, employing the model of customized integrated employment.  Work jointly with the Deaf-Blind Immersion Experience (DBIE) coordinator for referral, implementation of follow up recommendations and continued training for home team providers;
  • Conduct outreach efforts with Veteran’s Administration and senior adult & aging programs; promote information about Confident Living Program opportunities for both senior(s) with combined hearing and vision loss and rehab professionals;
  • Assist in identifying opportunities to offer Advocacy in the Deaf-blind World training to consumer groups and organizations;
  • Assist with identifying potential leaders to provide resources and leadership learning opportunities, with consumer organizations in the state;
  • Assist with supporting the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) delivery of services. Specific responsibilities to be determined by the regional representative; 
  • Submit documentation and reports per VR and agency contract requirements and billing information to HKNC Accounting;
  • Assist with identifying service gaps and unmet needs of consumers with HKNC Regional Representative and community partners;
  • Responsible for other duties, as may be assigned or requested by his/her immediate supervisor and the Project Director.

This position requires significant travel throughout the state, and possibly nearby states, and to the Sands Point, NY, HKNC headquarters as necessary.

Skills/Knowledge/Abilities

The Deaf-blind Specialist will possess the following knowledge/skills/abilities, or be able and willing to attain them within a reasonable amount of time, determined by HKNC, after being hired: 

  • Fluency in a wide-variety of communication methods and adaptations used by youth and adults, who are deaf-blind, (including, but not limited to):
  • American Sign Language, and 
  • Sign language, in English word order 
  • Braille
  • Alternative communication methods (picture books, communication boards, speech output methods)
  • Familiarity with an array of devices and technology used by deaf-blind people (including, but not limited to):  VP/VRS, low vision aids, braille devices, hearing aids, magnification devices and independent living aids;

Effective communication skills, including:

  • Professional daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting, documentation, case notes;
  • Development of PowerPoint presentations (including utilization of equipment) 
  • Engagement with community partners and consultation

Demonstrated knowledge and experience of Person-Centered Planning.

Demonstrated knowledge of conducting functional and situational assessments; basic understanding of Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, Pre Employment Transition Services (Pre ETS) and customized employment and competitive integrated employment and self-employment; onsite workplace assessments and cultural access.

Business relations/partnerships and marketing knowledge; understanding of disability benefits, including impact of earnings on Medicaid and Medicare.

Have knowledge and awareness of current legislation that impacts the deaf-blind population which could include WIOA, NDBEDP, IDEA and others that can lead to successful employment outcomes.

Have knowledge in general office procedures, use of cell phone, internet, virtual learning platforms (Zoom); and basic authorization procedures.

Basic computer proficiency required including File Maker Pro, Outlook, MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), and Microsoft Teams. 

Minimum required:

Bachelor’s degree (vocational rehabilitation, Deaf or Special Education, counselor education, disability studies);

Three-five years of professional paid experience, working with individuals who have disabilities;

Proficiency in American Sign Language;

Preferred:

Master’s degree (vocational rehabilitation, Deaf or Special Education, counselor education, disability studies);

Three-five years of professional paid experience, working with individuals who are deaf-blind and other disabilities;

Proficiency in American Sign Language and alternative communication methods;

Certified Benefits Planner;

Please Send Resume and Cover Letter to: hkncrecruitment@hknc.org