10.11.11

Enzi: Post-Secondary Education Adds Value to Employment Opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a field hearing on higher education and employment opportunities for the deaf and hard-of-hearing at Gallaudet University, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said that educational institutions like the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and Gallaudet are successful because they work with employers to demonstrate the value of hiring their students. 

“The significance of a college education for everyone has never been more obvious.  As the most recent employment data show, individuals with college degrees have an unemployment rate that is nearly half the national average,” said Senator Enzi.  “For people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, this difference is even more pronounced.  According to some estimates, an astounding 60 percent of people who are deaf are unemployed today.  However more than 90 percent of National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Gallaudet students who have chosen to enter the workforce are employed or furthering their education in graduate school.  Clearly, post-secondary education adds value to employment opportunities.”

Senator Enzi said he is aware of the difficulty faced by people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing because his first daughter lost the ability to hear a wide range of tones due to complications arising from being born nearly three months premature.  He said she grew up not able to hear like others but was determined not to let her limited hearing prevent her from living her life.  She learned to read lips and today is a public school educator in Wyoming where her experience includes being the principal in Chugwater, Wyoming. 

“Institutions like Gallaudet and NTID are successful not just because they provide an education, but because they also create opportunities by working with employers to demonstrate the value of hiring of their students,” Senator Enzi said.  “It is important to learn more about what each school is doing to overcome these barriers and about their partnerships with private industry.  It is also essential to know what is working, as well as what challenges still must be addressed.”

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