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SF Hearing Impaired Company Layoffs



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The Communications Services for the Deaf in Sioux Falls is letting go dozens of employees this summer.

 

The layoffs have been posted on South Dakota’s Department of Labor and Regulation's website under what's called a “WARN” notice.

 

While it's called a “WARN,” it's not a warning against the company.

 

WARN stands for “The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act,” a law that requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide 60 days’ notice before closing or mass layoffs.

 

The CSD call center is not big enough to fall under this law, but the company issued their own “WARN,” to give employees more notice.

 

“We informed our employees this week, that they would be separated from their employment, said Norris.”

 

Rick Norris, CSD Director of Communications, said 43 employees will lose their jobs this summer, a hard decision for the company to make.

 

"For many years, this had been our flagship relay center, we had over 350 people at one time, “said Norris.

 

Right now at the center, hard of hearing persons call in to reach an operator through a teletype machine then via text, request help from an interpreter for things such as reaching an employer, order a pizza or to communicate with a doctor.

 

"We would then, contact the physician and simultaneously contact the communication back and forth between the deaf person who is typing or hard of hearing person who is typing and the doctor," said Norris. “People move to the video communication.”

 

Which allows the hearing impaired to see their translator face to face and use sign language to communicate.

 

CSD has a video communication department but is phasing out the call center offer the text service.

 

Norris said CSD has teamed up with the state, to help employees find new jobs after the layoffs take place.

 

That's where Greg Johnson, comes in, who will work with dislocated employees with unemployment questions, resume help and other available resources.

 

"Trying to provide some sense of teamwork in the process to help them find out where can they apply, what ideas are there," said Johnson.

 

A partnership, Norris hopes will lead former employees to the right direction for a new career path.

 

"Our goal is to make sure they're taken care of as we close this center," said Norris.

 

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation will be meeting with CSD employees affected May 30th, to explain different resources available to the employees who will be out of work.

 

Then, after that, they will bring a job fair to the CSD facility to help the dislocated employees.

 

The 43 employees will be terminated, effective June 28th.

 

 

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