Jeffrey Laverty, Who Is Deaf, Is Enthusiastic about His New Career

Jeffrey Laverty on the job in his newfound career.

I think we’ve overcome any challenges that have arisen, Jeffrey’s a great worker. We enjoy having him here.

Jeffrey Laverty was born profoundly deaf. He didn’t say his first words until he was almost three years old, when he got his first hearing aids. He learned American sign language, but then he stopped speaking again. His parents kept looking for ways to help, and when he was 11 years old, he got his first cochlear implant. “I started hearing a lot of new sounds, and it changed my life!” Jeffrey says. He now has cochlear implants in both ears, and his life has changed again.

Fast forward a few years, and Jeffrey is married with a family and starting a new career thanks to the assistance of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a federal-state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep a job. Jeffrey worked with VR Counselor Jennifer Wester to decide on his career path and which services he needed to reach his goal.

First, VR paid for his tuition and books so he could train in HVAC – heating, ventilation and air conditioning. “I went to Lively Technical School for the training, and I fell in love with the job doing duct work,” Jeffrey says. VR also bought waterproof processors for his cochlear implants because of the nature of the job, working outside in the heat and humidity of north Florida.

Jeffrey now works for Benson’s Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. as an air duct crew member specializing in cleaning duct work in established buildings and designing the duct layout for new construction. He’s enthusiastic about his job and is eager to share the ins and outs of making sure a home’s duct work is properly placed and working well. “My job is to do the duct work; the duct cleaning and duct change out. I have a lot of experience doing the job, and I’m still learning a lot. I love my job. Everything’s great!”

Sherry Culpepper Barner, Jeffrey’s supervisor at Benson’s, says that working with someone who has a disability has been a good experience for them. They had never hired someone who was deaf before, so it was a new situation for them. “I think we’ve overcome any challenges that have arisen,” she says….

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