Do You Have Savvy?

David SpearsI’ve got savvy to be sure, but with my arms flailing about you may not agree. Actually you’re right! But there has got to be a way for me to somehow communicate my savvy. Fortunately, there is a way that I can channel my arms moving about to communicate with others, namely those who are deaf. How, you might ask? Through an online service called Signing Savvy.

This year, Signing Savvy celebrates its tenth anniversary, and they would like you to be aware of how they can help you to learn sign language…even if it’s only a few words or short phrases.

Signing Savvy is an online dictionary of American Sign Language (ASL). The user looks up a word or short phrase and a video shows how to communicate that via ASL. The service is free and of course, has more options for a paid subscriber. As a Navigator for Workforce Solutions, there are many times I’m floundering about in an attempt to communicate with someone who is not able to hear. Of course, Workforce Solutions provides an ASL interpreter for free, two business days in advance. However, occasionally the need for an ASL interpreter is immediate. As opposed to writing everything down, Signing Savvy has helped me learn a few keywords using sign language. Just knowing those few words has saved me a lot of time, and also has been appreciated by folks who use sign language.

At the mark of their tenth anniversary, over 22 million people have used Signing Savvy. That includes people from every state in the United States as well as several other countries. Now, I’m not trying to sell a product or service; I just think it’s beneficial to have another tool that can help me with communicating with people who use sign language. Workforce Solutions serves all people regardless of ability, so knowing even a little bit of sign language can only help.

According to The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), nearly 10 million people are hard of hearing and close to 1 million are functionally deaf. This large number no doubt affects people in personal and professional lives. Similar to other disabilities, the person has the ability to perform in a career; they just communicate differently. Learning a person’s ‘language’ will help to reveal the skills they have, that perhaps we were afraid to ask about.

While using a wheelchair for mobility, there are some jobs that I am not able to do (like a catcher for the Houston Astros…but I digress). The same is true for a person who is deaf. But until we take the time to communicate with that person we will have no idea what skills they do have. Signing Savvy is the beginning of learning a few keywords or phrases…and maybe a whole language!

David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.

1 Response to “Do You Have Savvy?”


  1. 1 Jasmin Grabowski December 27, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Very insightful, David !


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