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Students Participate in Mock Interview Exercises

The US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) continues to expand its relationship with Gallaudet University by returning for a third year to provide mock interview training for students.
Working cooperatively with the Career Center, USCIS sends representatives to campus regularly to give students an opportunity to practice interviewing skills, enhance professional development, and prepare them for job searching.

Most recently, 11 Gallaudet undergraduate psychology students were interviewed by professional hiring managers from USCIS. Christine S. Gooding, Customer Service and Public Engagement Directorate, John E. Roessler, Immigration Records and Identity Services Directorate, and Cynthia R. Downs, Management directorate, participated in the mock interview exercise. All students reported having a positive experience by improving their interview skills through practice and receiving valuable feedback from the managers.
USCIS employers, eager to provide this training for Gallaudet students, also report important benefits received from the experience. Working with students in an interview situation provides an opportunity to learn best practices for working with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, including how to communicate through the use of an interpreter. After a mock interview session a few years ago, a Gallaudet graduate was hired by USCIS as a direct result of interactions the hiring manager had with that student.

Vicky Crawford, Disability Employment Program manager for the USCIS Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion (OEOI) in Washington, DC, has been instrumental in pursuing opportunities for USCIS staff members to interact with Gallaudet students. Through participation in Gallaudet internship and job fairs, mock interviews, and information sessions on campus, USCIS employers gain exposure to effective interaction and communication with the deaf community.

“This effort strengthens USCIS’ relationship with Gallaudet and promotes USCIS as an employer of choice,” said Crawford. “It also exposes managers to qualified and motivated students for future career opportunities within USCIS.” “The commitment shown by USCIS is in their frequent requests for training from our office for their hearing supervisors,” added Karen Cook, Career Center director. “We have presented our ‘Best Practices in Working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals’ training on-site in their D.C. offices, as well as remotely to other USCIS locations throughout the country.”

USCIS has already reached out to the Career Center to set up mock interviews for the 2017 fall semester and plans to send representatives to the Internship and Job Fair on October 6, 2017. Through their efforts to connect with Gallaudet in the past three years, students have completed internships at USCIS. Several graduates have been hired both in their D.C. offices and in Lincoln, Nebraska. USCIS has recently hired Gallaudet student, Fatia Abimola, to work in their D.C. Office as a summer intern through the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a recruitment and referral program connecting federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. 

WRP is managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity (ODMEO).
Using USCIS as a model employer, the Career Center seeks to develop similar partnerships with other federal agencies.

Current opportunities with USCIS can be viewed at usajobs.gov.
From left: Cynthia R. Downs, USCIS; John E. Roessler, USCIS; Vicky White, Interpreter; and student Naseem Majrud. (Photo courtesy of Karen Cook)

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