Nepal natives, now living in Sioux Falls, Pushpa, Bir and Jagat enrolled in Goodwill’s employment skills program in May of 2016 through a referral with South Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation. Success in reaching their shared goal of obtaining competitive employment would require overcoming significant obstacles.

Pushpa, Bir and Jagat are English language learners, with their native language being Nepalese. To compound this, all three individuals are deaf and have learning and comprehension delays. Adapting to the cultural differences of life in the Midwest added to their obstacles.

Pushpa, Bir and Jagat tackled these obstacles by working with Goodwill team members through a variety of employment training resources available through Goodwill programming. They began participating in employment classes taught at Goodwill. For each class an interpreter translated the coursework taught by Goodwill staff into American Sign Language. A second interpreter then translated this information from American Sign Language to a universal gestured language. Goodwill staff translated materials to make the information easy to comprehend. Typical one-hour classes were stretched to two hours to accommodate the communication barriers as the group of students, teachers and interpreters navigated this challenge together.

With perseverance, Pushpa, Bir and Jagat succeeded through the program, engaging in classroom training and work training in Goodwill’s retail store to gain hands on work experience. These three individuals committed themselves to their success by showing up to work training on time, working hard, presenting a positive attitude and working well with Goodwill team members.

Each of these individuals successfully completed their program at Goodwill and are now employed competitively in the Sioux Falls community. Bir is employed at JC Penny and enjoying his job there. Jagat is working at Target, a company familiar with hiring individuals with hearing impairments. Target locally employs over a half dozen deaf employees and provides resources to help them in their success as employees at their company. Pushpa has joined the Goodwill team in our Kiwanis store. He loves the Goodwill retail environment and his presence has helped our team at that location learn American Sign Language to improve communication within the team.