Work Experience Model (WEM)

Our work Experience Model (WEM) is an important component, which supports activities that strengthen the career potential of Deaf youth by offering hands-on experiences where they can develop work skills, and cultivate positive work habits and values necessary for successful careers.

Why KTQ Is The Perfect Place for the WEM Program:

The idea for Keepsake Theme Quilts evolved from the desire to develop a product to support Deaf Initiatives as well as to create a work experience model for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. The goal was to identify a venture that was hands-on, visually oriented and lending itself to a beginning-to-end process. Making and selling t-shirt theme quilts met these criteria. Both the product and processes seemed to be a match for producing income and developing a deaf friendly work environment, one that is conducive to communication, motivation and linguistic/cultural sensitivity.

WEM Goals:

  • Provide an accessible, innovative program that is designed to maximize learning potential of Deaf young adults;
  • Be accountable through evaluating effectiveness of the program and success of students’ participation;
  • Maintain resources to aide in positive transitions from work experience to the world of work; and
  • Meet the needs of these young deaf and hard of hearing adults and allow them to practice new skills that contribute to successful employment and satisfying careers.

2016 WEM Program Developments:

Through a generous grant from the Jobs for Columbus Graduates Fund and The Dorothy E. Ann of The Columbus Foundation , Deaf Initiatives employs 2 high school students.  The young students have done a tremendous job in their role as Junior Production Assistants. These students have had the opportunity to create a product from start to finish and learn about each step along the way. Without the WEM student’s hard work and creativity, Keepsake Theme Quilts would not be able to create our one of a kind tote bags.

WEM Student’s Responsibilities and skills:

  • Understanding tote bag patterns, designs, measurements and instructions
  • Measuring and cutting fabrics
  • Using the embroidery match to create custom designs
  • Arranging and sewing tote bags together
  • Coming up with creative new designs and ideas
  • Working together as a team with the WEM coordinator and fellow students
  • Danielle_IroningIroning


  • Liz_ILoveYou_HandEmb“I Love You”
    hand embroidered
  • SewingSewing
  • Bishar_Cutting
  • Cutting Treco
    Cutting Treco

We are currently seeking additional students to work during the 2015-2016 school year.  If you know a student who is seeking a job opportunity in a unique, signing environment, please contact us

Current WEM Students – Spring 2016

Alexis WilliamsMy name is Alexis Williams. I am 19 years old.  I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.

I graduated from Northland High School in 2015. I am currently attending at Columbus State Community College. I am the oldest of three siblings. I am faithfully a member of a church, Liberty Baptist Church for the Deaf.

I enjoy watching movies, and I love to go out and do fun activities with my friends and family. I have recently won 3 scholarships, and I have earned my National Honor Society and the Teaching cords.

I have 3 most important goals: 1) find a college major, 2) to graduate from college, 3) traveling and exploring countries.

I love to work at the Deaf Initiatives because I felt there was no communication barriers and gaining my work experience.


Robert BuckinghamMy name is Robert Buckingham. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2009.

I graduated from Ohio School for the Deaf in 2015, and I am currently attending the Ohio School for the Deaf 4 Plus Program until next year.

I have 2 most important goals that I want to achieve: to save money so I can buy a car and move in apartment and travel around the world.

I love to work at the Deaf Initiatives because I get to communicate with my workers in Sign Language and learning more about this company.


Past WEM Students – Summer 2015

Asia MeKole

My name is Asia MeKole. I’m 19 years old, and I will be 20 on August 27th. I graduated from Northland High School in 2013.

I attended at Columbus State Community College (CSCC) in 2014, but I hope I will transfer to Academy of Arts University (AAU) in 2015, which are located in San Francisco, California. I was majoring in Psychology at CSCC, but my main dream, since I was a kid, is to become an actress which I told myself that I want to achieve my goals and go after what I love. So at this very moment, I am majoring in Performing Arts to persuade my dreams on becoming an actress. After I graduate from AAU, class of 2017/2018, my goal is to move to Los Angeles doing auditions/acting on set. At the same time, I will be taking classes on-line, and then I will live on campus either at University of California or California State University, in Los Angeles in order to continue my Psychology career and get my degree to become a Counseling Therapist. Those are my goals.

I am happy to work at the Deaf Initiatives because it’s a very comfortable place to work here.

Casey King

My name is Casey King, I am 15 years old and I grew up in Bexley for my whole life. I attended A.G. Bell during my pre-school years including my kindergarten year, and then I went to a public school called Bexley during first grade through eighth grade.

Currently, I am attending at a private Catholic school in Columbus called Bishop Hartley High School. My favorite subjects are math and science because I thoroughly enjoy doing experiments and trying to solve problems as well. My goals are is to graduate with at least 3.89 GPA, playing soccer for college that has offered me a scholarship and become a medical surgeon in one day.

I am happy to work at Deaf Initiatives because of the atmosphere, no communication barriers and it is considered as a part of learning experience.

Naje Farrow

My name is Naje’ Farrow. I’m 17 years old and I am from Ohio. I’m currently a senior.

At Fort Hayes, I am attending to learn business and have the knowledge about electricity. I chose electricity because it’s my major goal that I want to succeed in my future. I picked this one because I can see myself doing job tasks like putting rough in box, correcting it or reading a blueprint. It’s like a puzzle and I have to sort them out by thinking outside the box or choose wisely to make the decision.

The reason why I’m happy to work here is because Deaf or Hard of Hearing people don’t really find a “deaf job” or possible have a fully conversation with using sign language. Being deaf or hard of hearing person, I know this place will be comfortable for us.

India Walls

My name is India J. Walls. I will be 18 years old in August. I will be graduating at Northland High School in 2016. I will be senior.

I really enjoy writing and my goal is to become a writer. I’m looking forward to go college to major in journalism and I’m thinking to attend at GSU (Georgia State University).

I enjoy working at the Deaf Initiatives because I’m a hard of hearing person and I am normally around hearing people more, but I want to learn sign language to improve my communication with deaf people.