Press Release
December 19, 2019


Workforce Services Appoints New Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Director

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 19, 2019) — The Department of Workforce Services’ Utah State Office of Rehabilitation has selected Arlene Garcia Gunderson as the new director of the Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Gunderson will be responsible for the oversight and administration of programs assisting Utah’s Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing communities and their families.

Gunderson most recently worked as an American Sign Language assistant professor, as well as a consultant and project lead for the first mobile, on-demand and live interactive video chat tutoring, education and practice platform for the Deaf in both K-12 and college-level subjects.  In addition, Gunderson led a development team in creating free, online courses for Deaf adults in Ontario, Canada. Gunderson also served as the first director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center – Southwest in Austin, Texas, when it opened in 2011. Throughout her career, Gunderson has worked in a variety of roles, including Deaf services coordinator, high school social studies teacher, K-12 school for the Deaf principal, ASL lead and co-director of an ASL-interpreter preparation program.

“Arlene’s experience working with the Deaf community, as well as her strategic approach to overcoming challenges and building on successes, will be a great asset for our staff and clients,” said Jon Pierpont, executive director of Workforce Services. “I am confident her educational and advocacy background will help enhance the programming offered to our clients and help build strong community relationships with individuals who are Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing.”

Gunderson received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Gallaudet University, a master’s degree in bicultural and bilingual Deaf education from McDaniel College and a second master’s degree in educational administration from Argosy University. Gunderson has been recognized for her accomplishments in the Deaf community by several national organizations, including Deaf Women United and Deaf Women of Color, and featured in the recently published book: “The Light of Deaf Women.”

“I am thrilled for this new opportunity to serve the Deaf community in Utah,” Gunderson said. “I look forward to working with such a passionate and talented team of professionals who help provide connections and community for those we serve.”

Gunderson will assume her new role on Jan. 13, 2020.


About Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Department of Workforce Services’ Utah State Office of Rehabilitation provides support to individuals who are Deaf, Deafblind, hard of hearing and their families through the Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Services include case management, employment counseling, hard of hearing adjustment and equipment demos, ASL interpreting certification, community events and life-long learning classes. For more information, visit