Jordan Livingston loves working within the Deaf Community. As a scheduling coordinator at Applied Development, she matches American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to contracts for interpretation services. Her knowledge of ASL, interpreting, the Deaf community, and our contracts make her a valuable part of the Diversability team at our main office.
Jordan’s first exposure to ASL was seeing two people signing to each other, like it is for many people. But unlike most, she decided to start learning the language. At the Community College of Baltimore County, she took ASL classes. Eventually, she felt comfortable enough with the language to work for Community Support Services for the Deaf.
CSSD is a nonprofit organization in Maryland that offers a variety of services for Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf, and Deaf-Blind persons, including employment, mental health, residential, and individual support services.
Working at CSSD placed Jordan in a work environment where she learned and practiced her ASL. “I worked with adults who are Deaf-Blind, so we used tactile signing,” she says. At the day program, both her coworkers and the program participants were Deaf, “so if I needed to communicate it had to be in sign language.” She says it made her get more comfortable using the language and using it in everyday settings.
She continued studying at CCBC and received her Associates Degree in Deaf Studies and American Sign Language. Although she signs, her degree is not in interpreting and she doesn’t interpret professionally. But that was one of the things that drew her to Applied Development.
“I was really excited to have any job that was connected to the Deaf community,” she says. As a scheduling coordinator, she would be working with Deaf individuals and providing a service, just not doing the interpreting herself.
Today, she matches clients in need of ASL interpretation services with any of AD’s over 200 interpreters. She makes sure that the interpreters are the best match for the contract. Although working on government contracts was something new for Jordan, she’s learned a lot from the process.
She acknowledges that government contracts can be more strict than freelance interpreting, and sometimes that is a shift for interpreters and the employee they are working with. “Many times, the interpreters and the person in need of ASL interpretation know each other already, so sometimes it’s easy to forget that these are government contracts we are assigning,” she says. Part of her job is making sure everyone adheres to the contract.
In studying and working with the Deaf community, Jordan has become an advocate for inclusion. She thinks one of the best things about knowing ASL is that she can communicate with other ASL speakers outside of her work as a scheduling coordinator, too. For example, while working as a bartender, she can sign to Deaf customers.
“I think the more people know about ASL, Deaf individuals, and Deaf culture, the more they will realize how similar everyone is,” and how we can create equal opportunities for everyone, she says. She also appreciates that this is her job, too.
“I feel lucky to work somewhere that focuses on inclusion and facilitates communication and access for Deaf employees all across the US,” she says.