Goodwill Industries of Southern California Opens a New Deaf Employment and Community Center.
Goodwill Industries of Southern California (GISC) will hold the grand opening of its new Deaf Employment and Community Center in Van Nuys on Wednesday, Sept. 22, in honor of National Deaf Awareness week.
The center is located at 6850 Van Nuys Blvd., and the opening festivities will begin at 3 p.m., followed by a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.
"GISC has recognized the importance of providing employment assistance to the deaf and hard of hearing," Deaf Services Coordinator Jenna F. Beacom said, "so we decided to expand our Deaf Services Program from a single program offering office skills training to three separate programs."
The center will be able to serve a wide variety of members of the deaf and hard of hearing community in the San Fernando Valley. All of its programs are designed to help people acquire the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
The three programs provided at the center are Office Applications Training, General Employability Skills and Job Placement.
The center will serve a wide range of people, including those with no work experience and others with advanced degrees who seek assistance. Free interpreting for interviews are also offered through the Job Placement Program.
"It is truly a center by and for the deaf since most of our staff are deaf or hard of hearing, including myself. In addition to offering employment assistance, a goal of this center is to provide a meeting place for the deaf community, something which is really needed in the San Fernando Valley," said Beacom.
"Deafness is really a unique disability, in that it is also a culture, with its own language and mores. The center will continue a long cultural tradition which includes Deaf Clubs and other social centers," Beacom added.
The new facility will also benefit the San Fernando Valley economy by providing more qualified employees. Feedback from local businesses has been solicited to make sure that students are taught the most commonly used computer applications, for example. Free workshops on the Americans with Disabilities Act and on tax incentives for hiring people with disabilities will be provided for business owners and other interested parties.
Founded in 1919, Goodwill is a non-sectarian, non-profit agency, which is nearly 90 percent self-supporting through its retail stores and Industrial Services contracts with local businesses. GISC's mission is to enhance the quality of life for people who have disabilities and other vocational disadvantages by assisting them to become productive and self-sufficient through education, training and employment.