Student Participates in Transition to Work Program
This program is a collaborative effort made possible through a federal grant and a partnership between the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the MCDHH. The program is designed to increase deaf and hard of hearing students’ exposure to the workplace, gain new skills, and become marketable professionals. The program provided financial stipends to the student interns as well as job coaching. The program was open to high school and college students who are deaf/hard of hearing.
Annie Baez, who is deaf, spent up to 20 hours each week working in NECC’s business office where she performed a variety of administrative duties.
“I loved it,” said Baez, an NECC accounting and business transfer major. “It really helped me understand and apply what I am learning in the classroom. I realized I really like working with numbers.”
“She loved working in the business office and we loved having her,” said Matilda “Tilly” DelVecchio, NECC controller. “I learned from working with Annie that there are no limitations as to what she can do. Her performance was most exceptional. She was both efficient and pleasant to work with.”
Baez, a Boston resident, was born in the Dominican Republic. She enrolled at NECC, she said, because of the quality of services for deaf and hard of hearing students as well as the peer group on campus.
The partnership, says Reed, is about increasing the accessibility of employment for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The deaf and hard of hearing students who participate in Transition to Work summer internships are gaining skills to be vital members of the future workforce here in Massachusetts, according to Kathy Vesey, director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Northern Essex Community College.
Since the program’s inception three years ago, 150 students have participated, says Reed. Baez was one of 38 students selected from more than 100 who applied for this summer’s internships. These students have experienced a wide range of jobs from landscaping, to school programs, to office work.
“Transition to Work is part of our vision of the Commonwealth becoming a Model Employer; actively seeking to employ Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities who are under-represented in the workforce,” said Reed. “Here at MCDHH, we thank our interns for their commitment to learning their jobs and wish them well with future endeavors as they return to the classroom this fall. And we are sincerely grateful to the employers and mentors who welcomed, guided and advised students throughout the summer.”