Ann Williams posted her resume and applied for jobs on AbilityLinks.org. A Social Security Administration (SSA) human resources recruiter found Ann’s resume and contacted, interviewed and hired her. Ann also consulted with AbilityLinks information and referral counselors for advice on her job search.
Read Ann’s story in her own words to learn more about her life, education, disability and the discrimination she experienced. Learn about how she faces challenges, how technology has helped lessen the impact of her disability and the advice she has for employers:
It was an honor to be part of Social Security Administration after a long ordeal of filling out applications, profiles and interviews. Realizing to be part of a Federal Agency got lots to offer and advanced my career is a good fit and supportive of the disabled.
Currently, I work as an Intake Scanning Technician and Mail Clerk in the Central Intake Unit at Great Lakes Program Service Center.
Pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems was an accomplishment. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s Degree Online in Business Administration.
Throughout my life, I have dealt with my Hearing Impaired Disability. One thing that I do not do is used my disability for my personal gain or abuse the system. I spent many hours at a library reading books and materials. When I wanted to learn a skill or know how to do a task, I either trained myself, have a mentor show me or attend workshop.
I was born with Moderate – Mild Hearing loss and wear hearing aids starting at 3 years old. Wearing analog hearing aids for 47 years was an everyday struggle to hear especially with noisy background and big groups. Having one-to-one speech therapy during my childhood was helpful. Making friends was not a problem, but my education was short-changed due to humiliation and frustration.
It was hard to figure things out on my own from 3 years old to 20s. All I ask was equal opportunity and to accommodate me by letting me sit in the front so I can hear the details, speech, for what purpose, assignments and events. Any public settings such as schools, meetings, and so forth refused and said, “First Come First Serve.”
In 2002, a Ford Explorer struck me as I was waiting to make a left turn in a left-turn lane. Injuries included nerve damage from back of my neck to my right side to my lower back with short-term memory affected for a little over a year, headaches and suffered mild depression. The impact made my hearing loss worse from mild-moderate to profound.
How I got to where I am? I have the ambitious to be productive and contribute to the country. I am a fighter and determined to learn as much as I can and apply it personally and professionally and positive energy. I spent many hours on the computer, in the library, and doing things I love. During my adulthood, these three mentors assisted me through my obstacles and advices.
Technology changing and modifications of the Disability Act came along way. For the past three years, wearing digital hearing aids is a blessing. My advice is not judged us by our hearing limitations. Give us an equal opportunity and we can do the same kind of work as those with no limitations.
“We are all in the same boat and have the right to explore opportunities.”