Through its Deaf Employment Program, Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) aims to be the leading institution here in the Philippines that creates avenues for Deaf individuals to obtain equal access to work opportunities. The SDEAS Employment Program enables its partner companies and organizations to create a culture of inclusion and provide gainful employment opportunities for Deaf Benildean graduates. One such partner company is PayPal.
Almost 3 years ago, amid the pandemic, PayPal decided to embrace inclusion by opening its doors to Deaf individuals. SDEAS walked PayPal through the hiring process and equipped them with basic sign language communication skills and broadened their awareness on Deaf culture and identity.
PayPal’s efforts to collaborate with SDEAS is a part of their pilot program for disability inclusion in the Philippines. Launched in September 2020, “Thrive” is Paypal’s program for the disability community aiming to foster a culture of belonging for employees with visible or invisible disabilities along with employees who support loved ones with disabilities. Beyond this, Thrive pushes for equity across disability groups. PayPal Philippines is quite proud to be the first to provide employment opportunities for deaf people among all regions within PayPal global.
SDEAS aided PayPal in terms of job matching, by finding the best candidates from their roster of graduates who best fit Paypal’s required qualifications. Except for the provision of sign language interpreters during the interviews, the deaf candidates went through the regular recruitment process of PayPal.
One SDEAS graduate who successfully achieved employment through this partnership was Verna Cruz. When the pandemic struck, Verna really needed the job to support her two daughters. Sadly, it looked like all the jobs that she applied for were only interested in hiring hearing people, not until this job post came.
“I learned about the job opportunity with PayPal through our alumni network at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies in Manila,” she shared. Today, Verna works as a customer service representative in PayPal’s Manila Office.
Aside from providing PayPal with Deaf awareness and sign language training, job matching assistance, and sign language interpretation services, SDEAS also provided the shortlisted candidates career coaching and business English training to make sure that they will excel in their roles. The online English training program boosted the candidates’ English communication skills. According to SDEAS alumna and now PayPal employee, Mae Riccah Monteron, the training came in handy as her work entails the use of different levels and styles of English. As a part of PayPal’s Customer Solutions Team, Mae is exposed to various communication styles of clients from the United States. Despite Mae’s above average reading and writing skills, the adjustment proved to be a bit challenging as sign language is a visual language vastly different from English or from any other oral language. To understand unfamiliar expressions and nuances of the English language used by her clients, Mae refers to online search engines and writing tools–a strategy she learned from the career coaching and training provided by SDEAS.
This partnership with PayPal inspired SDEAS to design customized training sessions for organizations wanting to launch their journey towards inclusion. The customizable learning packets may include sessions on basic Filipino Sign Language, strategies on working and communicating with the Deaf, tips on fostering inclusion in the workplace, sessions on Deaf rights, identity, and culture, along with other context-specific services.
For more information, interested organizations may contact Benilde SDEAS at email@example.com.