Two years ago, Tim Lee began taking American Sign Language (ASL) classes with Connie, his wife of 35 years, who has difficulty hearing.
Connie Lee is skilled at lip reading, but the husband and wife team took ASL classes so they could better communicate with each other.
After completing six hours of coursework through the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Interpreter Education Program, Lee, a training specialist with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in the College of Business, presented an idea to produce training videos for those who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The center was awarded a $95,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. He developed a course on how to start a business and how to write a business plan for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. ASL interpreters led the courses, which are posted on YouTube to maximize visibility.
“Deaf people have a hard time getting employment,” Lee said. “Starting a business is the new way to join the middle class for deaf people.”
In addition to the training course, Lee plans to become a licensed ASL interpreter. He was just three weeks into his third course in ASL when he broke his leg in January, thus cutting his class short. However, Lee plans to continue his classes as soon as possible.
For his efforts, Lee received the Personal Growth Award at the 2016 UALR Staff Achievement Awards Ceremony April 21 at the Engineering and Information Technology Building.
The ceremony honored three staff members in the areas of personal development, contributions to the campus, and community involvement. It also recognized staff members for years of service, graduation, and retirement.
The Staff Achievement Awards winners were nominated by the campus community, with an independent body selecting the winners. Each received a $1,000 award and a certificate.
This year, College of Business staff member Karen Lee was also nominated for an Achievement Award in the category of Service to UALR. The nominations for this category recognized individuals who went above and beyond in service through committees, special events, implementation of creative ideas or support and encouragement of others.
The annual event was presented by the UALR Staff Senate and sponsored by Chancellor Joel E. Anderson and the vice chancellors. For more information about the event or a copy of the program, see here: https://ualr.edu/staffsenate/staff-achievement-awards/.
To learn more about the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and their programs, visit http://asbtdc.org/