(KFDX/KJTL) — 8 months at her job in customer service at the Hyatt Place Boca Raton, Angie Diaz has picked up more skills than you can count on your fingers.

Angie Diaz says, “my team members when they found out I was deaf, they didn’t really know how to handle it. They thought maybe it would be really hard to communicate.”  Diaz moved from Colombia. She was learning a new language, while finding a job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says only about 19% of people with disabilities are employed in our country, far less than the general population.

Angie Diaz says, “in the past, I really had a lot of struggles and I really had to open myself up to opportunities.”  She went through the “Disability Services Hospitality Training Program” with Career Source.  Diaz learned skills, and was provided an interpreter in class, and at the hotel when she was first hired.

General Manager, Sharon Ballard, says,”she’s no different from anyone else, it’s just the few alterations we have to communicate with her.”

Ballard says Diaz has given excellent customer service. So much so, she’s being trained in a new promotion, as a Starbucks barista.

Ballard says, “so she’s working a bit one-on-one with the guests, and then hopefully we’ll be able to get her at the front desk as well to just move her up in her career.”

Diaz says, “I have a really go-getter personality. And I showed them that we can find ways to communicate.”  Diaz has been such a success there. Foour other deaf associates have been hired in Hyatt’s nearby from the program.

Diaz says, “all of this, collectively has helped me become who I am. And I feel like I have really established myself as a deaf community member here, and I continue to learn and I feel so proud about that.”  Diaz: “proud?” “yes that’s the sign. Thank you.”