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VALLEY FOCUS | Panorama City

Hearing Impaired Receive Job Training

April 11, 1998|ERIC RIMBERT

Goodwill Industries has graduated its first class in a computer-training program aimed at helping the deaf and hard of hearing find jobs.

The working world has been slow to hear the pleas of a segment of the population that is underemployed but motivated, said Ivan Strean, employment specialist with Goodwill Industries.

Prospective trainees are first interviewed and screened by the state Department of Rehabilitation. Once accepted, qualified applicants learn various types of computer software such as Windows and WordPerfect.

Because applicants are at different skill levels when they begin, Strean said the amount of training a person needs varies.

"Some people take two months, some people five, it depends on how much experience the person has," he said.

Veronica Castaneda, 32, who graduated from the program last week, was in the training program for two months and is looking for work in the data entry field.

Although she had some prior work experience, she said the training helped upgrade her skills.

"I think the program is great for a deaf person to get experience in a classroom setting created just for us," she said. "It was really good to have a sign language teacher because you were able to concentrate on the work instead of trying to understand the teacher's lips."

For more information on the program, call (818) 782-8243.

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