Did you know that FBC’s Employment Services Program does more than work with job-seekers who have visual impairments? Outreach and education are a big part of what we do! Last Friday, several FBC staff and alumni spent a morning with members of NETPA–a local networking organization which hosts monthly workshops on a variety of employment-related topics–to share their expertise about vision loss in the workplace.

FBC’s Job Developer, Brooke Beatty, moderated a panel discussion which included Julie Oliver, (FBC’s Director of Adult and Transition Services), Suzanne Germano, (a Software Developer and Integrator with USAA), and Jordan Rodriguez, (a Civil Designer with Stantec). The panel covered questions like:

• What makes a workplace inclusive for people with vision loss?
• What tools, technologies, and strategies do people with vision loss use to do their work?
• What are the personal experiences of job-seekers and employees who are visually impaired?
• How does FBC help qualified, job-ready adults with vision loss connect with great employers?
• How can employers partner with FBC to educate hiring managers and human resource professionals about visual impairment in the workplace?

Both Germano and Rodriguez work in jobs that many may assume wouldn’t be easy to accommodate for someone with vision loss. It was up to them, as job candidates (and later, as employees) to help bridge this critical knowledge gap. In addition to doing this during their job interviews and on-boarding processes, both Germano and Rodriguez continue to engage in outreach at their respective employers. Germano is a part of a Business Resource Group for USAA employees with disabilities. Rodriguez takes a more one-on-one approach within his organization. He shared some of his experiences collaborating with coworkers to find new–and more inclusive–ways of doing things.

To learn more about how your organization can be more inclusive for those with vision loss, please contact our Employment Services team. We’d be happy to visit your site, demonstrate assistive technologies, answer questions and share information.