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New Article Subsides Your Apprehensions About Working Alongside an Employee Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

You’re considering hiring an individual who is blind or visually impaired, or there’s a new hire who has a visual impairment at your workplace. You’re concerned and sweaty-palmedand that’s an understatement. We hear youyou’ve likely no familiarity with people who have vision lossand we are thankful that in lieu of allowing inexperience and hesitation to dictate your verdict, you are in search of knowledge. We’re here to educate you and address your reservations, which we’re confident will subside your apprehensions. Your Possible Concerns and the Article Addressing Them If you’re like most, the questions you have include: What is a visual impairment? How should I act around an individual with a visual


Are You Prepared to Succeed in College As a Student Who Is Visually Impaired?

Once you graduate from high school, your adult life as an individual with vision loss begins; a life that will be shaped by the decisions you made in high school. After you receive your diploma and toss your cap, will you have a plan to succeed in the workforce and to fulfill your dreams as an adult who is visually impaired? If your plan includes pursuing higher education to obtain a college degree or attending a career school (also known as technical or vocational school) to learn specific skills needed to perform a job, you’ll want to be fully prepared to pursue your dreams. Five Questions to


Paying for College As a Student Who Is Visually Impaired

When you hear the words college education, do you automatically think cha-ching? It’s quite normal to associate dollar signs with attending a post-secondary institution, especially as the costs of a college education continue to rise in our country. Unfortunately, many teenagers and adults with vision loss often assume college is not an affordable option for them to pursue. Have you made the same assumption for yourself? If so, I encourage you to reconsider. Attending college or career school may be more affordable than you think. The reality is there are many resources available to assist you as a student with vision loss for paying


Introducing the Transition to College: Program Activity Guide for Students with Visual Impairments

Across the nation, it’s a critical time of the year for teachers of students with visual impairments and other professionals responsible for providing services to students who are blind or visually impaired. We are actively engaged in a state of preparation and planning for our students as they begin their journeys into the new school year. Not only are we responsible for teaching and supporting students with visual impairments in learning the skills needed to have a successful school year (academically and socially), but we are also preparing them to be future employees in the workforce. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported people with a disability are less likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher than those people with no disability. In


Preparing for Home Based Work As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Millions of Americans enjoy the comfort and convenience of working from home. Specifically, those who are self-employed, and those employees who work remotely for a company. Maybe you are one of them. Self-employment has been my primary income generating activity for the last 15 years. Working from a home office has been a cost effective, convenient option for me too. Plus, no long commutes, no walks in bad weather, and no stress about packing lunch.


Computers Installed with Assistive Technology Offered as Low as $50 for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Job seeker who is blind or visually impaired, You know the necessity of assistive technology in the workplace, but perhaps you are experiencing a recent loss of vision or for any number of reasons have yet to become proficient in blindness and low vision accessibility software enabling you to perform job functions excellently. If the missing link between you and


AFB CareerConnect Message Boards: Why and How to Use Them

As an individual with a visual impairment who is seeking employment, successfully maintaining employment, or ascending the career ladder, you’re no stranger to confronting workplace barriers. The good news is you don’t have to navigate the barriers independently, you can learn from others. It’s true. AFB CareerConnect created a space to support and connect with other professionals with visual impairments. Here’s the space: AFB CareerConnect message boards. Why the Message Boards Are Useful Bring your questions and concerns. Perhaps the topics include


An AFB AccessWorld Article the Job Seeker Won’t Want to Miss!

Job seeker who is blind or visually impaired, what questions or concerns are all-too-familiar as they relentlessly trouble your mind? I want to know, so I can address your concern, direct you to an expert on the topic, or provide you with a helpful resource. I recently read an AFB AccessWorld article and immediately knew it needed to reach your hands. I think it will address many of the concerns you have as you embark on your job search. Perhaps you are unsure of the following: Where can I find articles aimed to prepare a visually impaired person for the employment process? What online or correspondence courses are available to prepare me


Maintaining Employment As a Person with a Visual Impairment

We recently discussed landing a first job as a person who is visually impaired. We reviewed what it takes, from sound blindness-specific compensatory skills to sufficient interview preparation, and I mentioned we would continue the conversation to discuss what it takes to maintain employment as a person who is blind or visually


It’s Valentine’s Day and You’d Love to Secure a First Job

Happy Valentine’s, my friend. Maybe your mind is on your special date this evening or perhaps it’s on Singles Awareness Day (It’s legit, look it up!). Regardless, allow me to turn our attention from that ever-so-cute and chubby cupid to that ever-so-overwhelming and important job hunt. Take heart, folks who are blind or visually impaired can be successfully employed. Case in point—browse AFB CareerConnect’s success stories and note the variety of jobs held by people with visual impairments. Yes, it’s possible for people with visual impairments to


Pre-Employment Lesson Plans for Consumers with Multiple Disabilities

We previously discussed occasionally wishing we had a lifeline (in “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” terms) when it comes to teaching our students who are blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities. We want to ensure we’re not overlooking important skill sets, we wonder what practical skills are imperative for students with multiple disabilities succeeding in the workplace, or we’re new teachers and want a starting place. As a lifeline, I offered pre-employment skills and activities for consumers with multiple disabilities. Today, I’d like to bring


Pre-Employment Skills and Activities for Consumers with Multiple Disabilities

Throughout my years as a transition specialist in Tallahassee, Florida, I remember introducing myself to a number of incoming students with multiple disabilities, getting to know them, assessing their pre-employment readiness skills, and working with teams to establish individualized career-related goals. Often the process was straightforward. Other times I wished there was (as “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” hosts would say) a lifeline. Call a friend, poll the audience, anything. Teachers of students with visual impairments, VR counselors, and transition specialists, if you too need an occasional lifeline, may this be the starting place. Here


How Can LinkedIn Benefit the Visually Impaired Job Seeker?

Perhaps you are a blind or visually impaired job seeker and you’re ready to create a LinkedIn account or you have a LinkedIn account with an underdeveloped profile and connections. First, you’re going to want to know how to utilize LinkedIn as a person who is blind or visually impaired. Yes, LinkedIn and its general features are accessible! Second, you’ll want to read AFB’s reprinted article


How to Stay Current in Best Practices As a Professional in the Field of Blindness

September marks the arrival of autumn—brilliant swaying leaves, invigorating crisp air, warm drinks soothing our chilled hands, and chunky cable-knit sweaters adorning us all. (That is, unless you live in Florida! Shout out to that great state I once called home.) Regardless, I think I speak for all when I say this change of season and accompanying weather is welcome. I’m reminded of our ever-changing field of blindness and visual impairments. As time progresses, our students/consumers become more diverse, as does the world into which they’re integrating. So, how do we become more knowledgeable on the unique needs of our recent clients (think: the rapidly growing population of individuals with brain-based visual impairments)? How do we keep up with today’s


Benefits of a Strong Social Network

CareerConnect:


Resources for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and Over Age 50

Have you seen the 2015 film, "The Intern"? If so, you remember Ben Whitaker (played by Robert De Niro) pursuing an internship after finding retirement rather lonely. He interns with a young professional (played by Anne Hathaway) who gradually recognizes Whitaker to be a source of wisdom, chivalry, and sound business principles. She realizes Whitaker's know-how and insight are profoundly valuable, not to mention she genuinely enjoys his company. You, yes you, are also valuable in the workplace. Your experiences and knowledge bring a richness, depth, and perspective that cannot be duplicated. If you are ready to


AFB Resources for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired With Multiple Disabilities

You may have read a blog post here or there with information relevant to individuals with visual impairments and multiple disabilities, and you may have missed just as many. If you have multiple disabilities, or if you are a parent or specialist of a person with multiple disabilities, these posts are too valuable to overlook. Below is a compilation of American Foundation for the Blind's career-related articles and blogs pertaining to individuals with visual impairments and multiple disabilities.


Counting Down to Graduation: February: Finding the Right Job, Part 2

Question: Is there anyone who can give me advice about finding the right job for me? So you’ve started your career search, but you want something more than numbers and stories. Why not connect with a mentor? Why not try networking?! Networking is an excellent way to open up new opportunities, but it can also help you figure out if the career you are interested in is really what you had in mind. Sometimes the best way to learn about a career is to talk to someone who is currently working in that field. This is where having a mentor comes in handy. Mentors have firsthand knowledge of what it takes


Person-Centered Planning, the Ideal Route to Discover Meaningful Employment for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired with Multiple Disabilities

When I think about my time as a transition specialist at the Lighthouse of the Big Bend, my mind wanders to the most empowering story. I think about a young man, I'll call him Jay to protect his privacy, who was smiley and kind; a man of few words. Jay was a teenager at the time, is totally blind, and has a significant intellectual disability. Jay's mom and I held a meeting, formally called a Person-Centered Planning meeting, with Jay and many of his teachers and specialists to discuss his strengths, interests, abilities, and aptitudes. We worked together to create vocational goals, as it was clear Jay would benefit from and enjoy part-time, straightforward work. We hoped to find a work experience that would prepare him for adult work and one that would be a meaningful social


Job Accommodations for People with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities

The value of successful employment should not be underestimated for a person who is blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities.Successful employment, whether volunteer or paid, provides opportunities to engage in meaningful, structured activities outside of the home; offers opportunities to increase social interactions and foster relationships; and provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. All of which contribute to a positive self-concept and a satisfying, emotionally-healthy life; a goal we all strive to attain. There are certainly barriers to employment when you, your family member, or consumer is blind or


New Year's Resolutions: Considerations for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

It's December. There's no shortage of holiday party invitations strewn around my house. Not because we're wildly popular, but because the military has a number of traditional holiday gatherings. It's a busy, hustle-and-bustle month I appreciate, and yet I look forward to the unruffled and uncomplicated month of January. It's hard to believe 2014 is nearly behind us and the new year is right around the corner. You know what that means! While I'm not one to establish official New Years' Resolutions, I am one to take full advantage of the renewed energy I organically attain come January 1. Who's with me? Let's channel the


Looking Back on Our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect for Job Seekers and Workers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

If you didn't stay up with all of the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect with tips and advice for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired, I wanted to take the time to provide you with a little ESPN Sports Center highlight reel of our own. Each day provided you with new tips, advice, and links to resources that could help with your preparation for employment or that next position. Let us know what you thought about the series and the posts. 12. On the Twelfth Day of AFB CareerConnect, we posted this post from Katy Lewis,


The First Day of AFB CareerConnect: 1 Inspiring Series of Our Stories About Successful People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

In continuing our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect countdown with the First Day of AFB CareerConnect with a dollop of inspiring stories. Here is a riddle just for you. What one thing comes from the north and the south, has eight eyes (but only six of them work), sixteen extremities, four great minds that work in unison ,yet separately, and shares one successful, independent existence? Give up? To learn about one inspiring story head over to AFB CareerConnect’s series on Cooking Without


The Second Day of AFB CareerConnect: 2 Ways to Connect with a Mentor Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

As the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect continues with the second day of tips and advice. With the holidays quickly approaching, everyone is excited to spend time with their friends and family, but don’t forget to make time for your mentors. Mentors often play a bigger role in a job seeker’s life than they realize. It is important to thank your mentors for offering their guidance and knowledge of the field. It is even more important to maintain these relationships as we enter into the New Year. Having a mentor can make all of the difference when looking for a new job, but how do you connect with a


The Third Day of AFB CareerConnect: 3 Free Resources for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Can you believe it? Our holiday countdown is almost over, but don’t worry, we aren’t finished spreading holiday cheer! AFB CareerConnect has provided helpful advice, tips, and ways to improve your job search and work-life, but we haven’t given out any presents! So as we continue to celebrate the 12 Days to Christmas, the holiday season, and the New Year, here are a few free resources just for you from AFB CareerConnect! Job Seeker’s Toolkit. This gift is perfect for any job seeker!


The Fourth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 4 Tips on Disclosing Your Disability to an Employer As a Job Seeker Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

The Fourth Day of AFB CareerConnect brings us to talking about disclosing your disability. I am quite passionate about this topic and get to speak about it around the United States with youth, adults, and employers. I wanted to take the time to provide four tips specific to the subject to continue our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect. We have covered job search tips, resumés, volunteering, inspiring stories, and much more. Here are a few tips and advice that could help you in the disclosure process. 4 Tips on Disclosing Your Disability as a Job Seeker Who Is Blind or Has Low Vision 4. Take the time to think about how


The Fifth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 5 Ways to Turn Volunteer Work into Job Experience for Workers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

For the fifth day of AFB CareerConnect, we wanted to bring you five ways to turn volunteer work into job experience. The fact is that volunteer experience is important regardless of whether you are employed. But, for those looking for employment, volunteer experience gives a person the opportunity to keep his or her résumécurrent. Besides keeping your résumé current, volunteering offers experience in developing references and connections. Review our tips and advice below on turning volunteer experience into job experience: 5. Treat volunteering like a job, and make the most of your time volunteering. Volunteering can be an


The Seventh Day of AFB CareerConnect: 7 Ways to Get Organized As a Worker Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

As we continue our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect with our seventh day, I wanted to bring you some new tips and advice on staying organized. During this busy holiday season, it is easy to create clutter in your work space, get behind on projects, and become overwhelmed. Check out how these seven organizational tips can help increase productivity and reduce frustration at work and in life. 7. Keep on top of your filing system: Whether you are using an electronic folder system or a paper filing system, it is important to keep the folder titles straightforward. Common


The Eighth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 8 Thoughts and Considerations on Job Accommodations for Workers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

For the eighth day of AFB CareerConnect's 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect countdown of great tips and advice, I will be providing you with eight thoughts and considerations on employment accommodations for workers who are blind or visually impaired. As I travel around the United States providing workshops for youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired or professionals, this topic comes up a lot. So, here is a little holiday gift for you: Eight Thoughts and Considerations on Job Accommodations 8. Knowing your own accommodations or possible accommodations: The fact is you should have a good idea about your possible accommodations for work. You


The Ninth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 9 Ways to Wow an Interviewer As a Job Seeker Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

As we continue the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect with our ninth day. The ninth day brings you our 9 Ways to Wow an Interviewer. You have read about getting a resume ready, and it is time to wow an interviewer with 9 great tips and a few resources. 9 Ways to Wow an Interviewer 9. Connect with current and past employees from the organization, and be prepared to ask appropriate questions about the organization. With past employees, be aware that information might not be current or accurate (depending on why and when they left the organization). 8. Create a connection with the interviewer. Listen to the


The Tenth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 10 Ways to Improve a Resumé As a Job Seeker Who Is Blind

Continuing with our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect theme, in keeping with the "12 Days of Christmas;" we are providing you with the tenth day. We prefer the 12 Days to Christmas, the holiday season, and the New Year. Here is our tenth day with tips and advice around getting your resumé developed, polished, and ready to submit. 10 Ways to Improve a Resumé 10. Always use a legible, professional typeface (font), no cursive or curly-q’s trying to be fancy and keep to a standard length. 9. If you are new to the workforce a one-page resumé is normal. Keep formatting consistent and make


The Gift-Giving Guide for a Career-Minded Recipient Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

'Tis the season for frosty weather, hot cocoa, and gift giving. Maybe you appreciate the frosty weather, adore the hot cocoa, but are anxious about shopping? Do you feel clueless as to what to purchase for your career-minded son or daughter, sibling, spouse, friend, neighbor, or colleague with a visual impairment? It's time to relax; I've done the thinking for you, which means you can spend more time sipping cocoa by the fireplace. Oh, one more thing. While the gift recipient does have a visual impairment, remember he or she is first a person. And people


The Exceptional Nurse Book Highlights Nurses with Disabilities and Visual Impairment

Exceptional nurses go out of their way to provide excellent care for their patients no matter the personal hurdles they must overcome. Whether that hurdle is a physical or mental disability, these nurses have found ways to conquer the odds and continue to provide the best care possible to those in need. In Donna Carol Maheady’s new book, The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities, readers learn of nurses who overcame


Providing "Mad Props," Resources, and Thanks to Our Veterans on Veterans Day

The American Foundation for the Blind and AFB CareerConnect appreciate the sacrifice of our veterans on this day and each day. We wanted to take the time to say thank you and let you know about some veteran specific information. AFB's VisionAware offers a great resource for veterans and their families, as veterans could lose vision later in life or experience vision loss from incidents during military action. Our family of websites offers resources and these VisionAware resources developed around the adjustment


AFB CareerConnect® Launches a Halloween Treat: Using AccessWorld® Magazine As a Transition Tool

By now I hope all of you are aware of Lesson Plans for Teachers and Professionals, a special offering from AFB CareerConnect(r). Our newest consultant, Alicia Wolfe, a lead teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) from Pinellas County, Florida, created a Halloween treat that you will not want to miss. No, there are no ghosts or goblins haunting this offering. Rather, Alicia has developed a series of lesson plans on how to use the popular online technology magazine,


Getting Empowered with My Top 12 Job Search Tips As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

AFB CareerConnect(r) has been using the Department of Labor's Office on Disability Employment Policy's theme of "Expect, Employ, Empower" to help celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. As we near the end of the month, I wanted to leave you with my top 12 tips to empower your job search as an individual who is blind or visually impaired. Let's get empowered! Here are my top 12 job search tips straight from Huntington, West Virginia. 12. Get your resume up to par. This might involve having professionals in your field review it,


National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme: Employ

Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! As we continue to celebrate NDEAM, it is important to review the second element of this year’s theme, “Expect. Employ. Empower.” A huge part of why we have NDEAM is because of those employers that provide jobs and those employees who work hard to get hired. After searching through CareerConnect’s Career Clusters, deciding on a career path that is right for you, and seeking advice from mentors online, it is important to put those resources to work. But what if you are worried about your job interview? Or if you aren’t sure how to disclose your


A Salute to Our CareerConnect Mentors: Disability Mentoring Day

I am currently in Northern California, spreading the message of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). I have a meeting with staff from Lighthouse for the Blind-San Francisco this week, and I am speaking at the California School for the Blind, Cupertino schools, and San Francisco State University. As I make the rounds out here, I am also making time to connect with CareerConnect mentors, AFB contacts, and other impressive people who are blind or visually impaired. I am always preaching the importance of having mentors who are blind or visually impaired and mentors who are not. I want to take this time to salute the CareerConnect mentors who volunteer to respond to queries, questions, and surveys for our program. I know for a fact that they are making a


ODEP's 2014 National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme is “Expect. Employ. Empower.”

It is finally October which means it is officially National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! This year's theme, decided by the United States Department of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, is "Expect. Employ. Empower," and each week CareerConnect is breaking down these elements and providing free resources for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired. This week we are focusing on "Expect." According to Kathy Martinez, the assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, this year's theme is about much more than just hiring. "It's about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step in this continuum is


Eyes On Success Hosts Profile Successful People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and Much More

This is a blog post written by the hosts Peter and Nancy Torpey. Eyes On Success is a weekly, half-hour radio show/podcast that covers a wide range of topics of interest to the visually impaired. In the growing archive of over 200 episodes, one can find shows on new products and technologies, interviews with leaders in the blindness community, as well as human interest stories of visually impaired individuals with rewarding professional careers and fun hobbies. The hosts and producers of the show are both retired research scientists with doctorates in physics.


Find Resources, Tips, and Updates Related to Blindness, Visual Impairment, and Employment in Our Newsletter

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) CareerConnect staff is excited to unveil the new CareerConnect Newsletter! This newsletter will provide information about updates or changes to the program, introduce new staff or volunteers, share helpful tips, offer options for becoming more engaged in mentoring or the use of the program, and give a peek behind the scenes at AFB’s efforts to expand employment possibilities for people with vision loss. The team has been working hard on this newsletter, and we will be bringing this to you quarterly. Stay tuned to all of the latest news about our program and new resources for job seekers who are


Interviewing Tips: The Best Response to "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?" for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

So, you've been asked to interview for a positionthis is good; no, excellent. As you sit in the chilly room, on the hard, wooden chair, you're asked the dreaded question, "What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?" You feel the perceived spotlight flushing your cheeks. Your strengths, that's relatively easy. You describe your skills and experiences that make you the perfect fit for the job. Your weaknessthat question's just not fair! I know, I know. It sounds like you're being asked, "Now, tell us why we shouldn't hire you." But instead of interpreting the question in that regard and airing all your


The Secrets to Turning Your Volunteer Job into Paid Work for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Have you heeded the insights of The Work-Related Benefits of Volunteering for Job-Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired? Did you Find a Volunteer Position that Is a Good Match for You? Good. Now you're volunteering and you like the people, you like the work, you like the cause. Wonderful. Have you considered the possibility of turning your volunteer


Interviewing Tips: How to Make a First-Rate First Impression As a Candidate Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

I'm thinking about the job interviews of my youth and I can't help but smile bashfully. I'm certain my interviewing skills could have used a bit of polish. The information in this blog series is that polish. Read it and apply liberally. I want you to know that I still don't have all the answers. I am, however, not afraid to ask those who do have far more than I. That's where my brother-in-law, Jonathan Kitts, comes in. He's a manager who regularly interviews and hires employees. I asked him to share his interviewing experiences with me, providing insight into making an excellent first impression at a job interview. He obliged with


Do Your Coworkers a Favor: Avoid These 6 Common Workplace Annoyances; This Is Not a Blind Thing!

Bad breath. Work environments involve prime breath-smelling distance with coworkers and clients on a daily basis. I've come to understand two primary causes of smelly breath: poor oral hygiene and eating halitosis-inducing foods. Make sure to practice good oral hygiene. I'm going to assume you brush your teeth twice daily and visit the dentist every 6-12 months, and I'm also going to assume you're a lot like me and forget to floss more than you'd care to admit. Let's both prioritize nightly flossing. As for food, I'd suggest skipping garlic and onions in work-day breakfasts and


8 Work-Related Benefits of Volunteering for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Maybe you are among the vast numbers of individuals who are blind or visually impaired who would like to work, but have been unable to find or retain a full-time job. Don't despair. There is something you can do while you searchsomething that will benefit your community (on behalf of those folks, I personally thank you for giving of your time and talents) and you. Read on to learn 8 work-related benefits of volunteering. Obtaining a volunteer position in a career field of interest can help you to qualify for a desired job. For example, if you are looking to work as a child care provider, you may seek a volunteer


Professional Development and Workshops for Youth Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

I am packing up my stuff to head to Maine for a few days of work. I will be doing a session with the professionals up there on transition-related topics, as well as conducting a teen employment workshop and a post-secondary preparation session for youth. I will also participate on some panels. I value getting the opportunity to work with the professionals and youth there. I have now conducted something like 47 teen employment workshops around the United States that reached well over a thousand youth. The workshops have specific components, but they vary a bit by the population and audience needs. As a


AFB Launches an App for AFB CareerConnect and It's FREE!

You might be excited or just ecstatic that the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has just launched the CareerConnect App with some of your favorite features of the CareerConnect resource center. Hold your applause and high-pitched sounds of jubilation for the full deal on this momentous occasion. Am I hyping this app? Oh, yes! But I will tell you that this launch is just the beginning of more great things to come. AFB has worked hard to include some of the new and exciting features that vision professionals, job seekers, youth, and parents of children who are blind or visually impaired use from CareerConnect. The CareerConnect App includes four main tabs, and it follows the model of the


Insight into Extraordinary Leadership for Workers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Whether you jump into a leadership role as an entrepreneur, progress in your career field and begin supervising, or simply desire to work for a phenomenal leader, it is beneficial to become well-acquainted with the makings of an extraordinary leader. Strong leadership requires many abilities and strengths acquired through experience and education. One can gather information on managing people, making decisions, inspiring a team, delegating tasks, communicating effectively, and using a sense of humor. Here's the crux: The motivation to execute the above-mentioned skills matters. As a leader, will you be motivated for personal success or for the team's success? Those whom you manage, supervise, or lead will notice and perform accordingly. I have read and


They See, You Show, and You Share: Words That Equal Employment for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

As I like to say, "perception is reality." The fact is that anyone you meet for the first time will only know what they see, you show, and you share. It is up to you to sell yourself in a job interview or in your general interactions in life. You need to embrace and practice this throughout your life. I know I do, and I encourage this in all of the people who I provide workshops for and teach. These tips are from a person who is blind or visually impaired and aimed directly to professionals and all who are blind or visually impaired. They See You should be dressed appropriately, and I can tell you this is a huge issue. I am not Mr. "GQ," but I try my best to look good and appropriate. It doesn't take a lot of money to nice and professional. I give the example that


What Does Your Facebook Profile Say About You As a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired?

Suppose you are eager to land a new job and have recently applied for 10 interesting positions within your state. You are hopeful that the large net you cast will lead to at least one or two interviews. You smile as you think about your robust resume. You've got the credentials. Surely the employers will see the value you could bring to the companies. But what you don't know is the three employers who are prepared to interview you have visited your Facebook profile. What will they find? What does your Facebook profile say about you? Assume your Facebook profile is visible to the employers; will this extended resume portray you as aggressive, immature, arrogant, or full of complaints? View your profile through the eyes of a potential employer and delete or add


As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired, Is Your Communication Style Passive, Aggressive, or Assertive?

Do you find yourself getting walked over far too frequently? Do others see you as a doormat or pushover? Perhaps you're on the opposite end of the spectrum and you often demand your way. Maybe you don't quite know where you fit on the continuum. Situations arise daily involving the opportunity to assert one's concerns, rights, or desires. Examples include verbalizing a request, attempting to correct an error, giving an honest opinion, and saying "no" to a request. Three of the most common styles of communicating the above are: Assertive communication, which emphasizes being honest, direct, kind, and respectful. Passive communication, which downplays your desires and avoids disagreements or conflict. Aggressive communication, which makes demands and


How to Be an Effective Leader As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Braille Institute of America's former president, Les Stocker, asked his friend and world-renowned architect, Gin Wong, to name the single most important skill necessary to be effective in his field. Expecting to hear computer or design skills, Stocker was surprised to hear Wong's response: leadership skills. Wong emphasized the importance of a leader selling a concept. A leader casts a vision and assembles a team in order to accomplish what he could not accomplish on his own. That brings us to the question, what makes an effective leader? An effective leader demonstrates personal responsibility, decision-making capabilities, an ability to relate well to others, and effective communication skills. A good leader also maintains a positive attitude, delegates


Help! How Can I, An Instructor of Youth Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired, Use CareerConnect?

Are you a teacher or professional working with youth who are blind or visually impaired? Have you tapped into the resource that is CareerConnect? If the answer is yes, wonderful! If the answer is no, perhaps you aren't sure where to begin or you wish to first know the most direct route. I wrote a 10-part lesson series making use of all the rich resources within CareerConnect. As always, the lessons are free and can be tailored to the unique needs of your unique students. It's true, CareerConnect is packed with transition-relevant resources. The lesson series,


A Cheat Sheet to Help You Self-Advocate for Accommodations As a College Student Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

I don't know a soul who isn't nervous to make the leap from high school to college or a university. If this is you, you're in good company. A long list of changes is inevitable and exciting. Will you leave home to live on or off campus? Will you enjoy the company of your roommate(s)? Is the meal plan worth the money? Are you confident in your cooking skills? (Hey, let's be honestmost college students aren't known for their cooking skills.) How many classes can you handle in your first semester? Then there are changes in accommodations as you enter college. If you are blind or visually impaired, you had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in high school. Your IEP team, hopefully with you as the lead, decided on necessary accommodations and the school provided


Top 10 Ways to Lose a Job: What Not to Do As an Employee Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

In an effort to provide tips for maintaining employment, I decided it would be far more engaging to read a "what not to do" list. Enjoy the list and please don't try these at home… or at work! Without further ado: In order to lose a job…. Prove to be dishonest. Lying, cheating, stealingtake your pick. This includes lying on a job application or resume. Make a habit of showing up late for work and/ or meetings. Choose the snooze button instead of ensuring you make the bus and definitely don't have a plan B for getting to your location of employment. Miss deadlines and skip important meetings. Go on, delete your virtual calendar. Demonstrate poor communication skills. You can do this any number of ways. Ideas: Forgo eye contact


Maintaining Employment Interview 2: A Café Owner's Perspective for Youth and Adults Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Anyone else obsessed with fish tacos? I'm pretty sure I could eat one every day, particularly one topped with diced red onion and cilantro. Though I don't love to cook, I’m a foodie at heart. My love of fish tacos brought me to a fresh food and smoothie café this week. Commence my second maintaining-employment mission. I sought the business owner and asked him, "What are the qualities of an employee that will ensure he or she maintains employment? He was eager to provide his opinion. Josh, the business owner, stated integrity as the most important maintaining-employment quality. He said an employee who steals money from the cash register or otherwise shortchanges the company cannot maintain employment at his worksite, and I'm guessing the employee would leave


The Work-Experience Ladder: Youth Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Can Start Climbing

I'm thinking back to my first paid work at Tex-Mex Restaurant. I was 15 years old, scared out of my mind, and was hired for the summer as a counter attendant. I had two days of job training and proceeded to work the counter by myself, my anxiety and me. I had heard, "fake it 'til you make it," and so I did. I put on my smile, took orderspainfully slow the first weeksreceived cash and provided change, brought food to seated customers, and tidied the front of the restaurant. At the completion of day one, my feet ached. At the completion of week one, I wondered if I could ever memorize the menu or provide accurate driving directions to lost customers who called. At the completion of month one, I realized I didn't have reason to be so anxious. I rather liked serving


Basics Behind Maintaining Employment As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

In today's economic climate, it's not only be difficult to find gainful employment, it can also be a struggle maintaining a job once hired. This becomes an even bigger issue for people who are blind or visually impaired. There are many individuals (with and without disabilities) who might be recycling into unemployment and the job hunt. There are many reasons for this, but it’s my belief that it comes down to three main issues: compensatory skills, interpersonal skills, or proper training. There are other factors of course, but I'd like to address these specific issues. Below,


Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Job Hunters and Career Climbers

Online social media is well known to help you build personal connections and relationships. But what about career building or job-seeking? Today, many human resource managers, recruiters and headhunters are looking to see if you have an internet presence and what is being said about you on the Web. If they find a negative message or none at all, you could lose an opportunity without even knowing it. LinkedIn provides an accessible way to create a professional brand and build connections. Learn More About Social Media Grow Your Connections Through LinkedIn


Introducing Dr. Jamie O'Mally from MSU's NRTC on Blindness & Low Vision

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to introduce a friend and colleague from a partner organization of AFB. Dr. Jamie O'Mally from Mississippi State University's National Research & Training Center (NRTC) on Blindness and Low Vision, has been a big supporter of AFB CareerConnect, and we feel the same way about their program and staff. They continue to research, identify, and work to create tools to address the issues specific to employment and persons who are blind or visually impaired. I cannot stress


Sharing the Latest News: AFB CareerConnect Connections Newsletter

In case you are not subscribed to our "Connections" list, we wanted to share the latest scoop with you. AFB CareerConnect has not done a newsletter in a long time, but it felt like it was time to let you all know what is going on. You may not have known that AFB CareerConnect launched the CareerConnect Blog last week. That is right, AFB trusts Joe Strechay and Detra Bannister with a blog. The CareerConnect Blog will bring you employment related information and advice with a touch of humor and style. The blog will also provide updates on the program, mentors, and other relevant news. Posts will come from Joe Strechay, Detra Bannister, mentors, and


A Great Tip for Professionals Working with Youth or Adults Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

By now, chances are you have used or at least heard of the American Foundation for the Blind’s CareerConnect website, which is a free online career education and exploration program. Especially since you are on our CareerConnect Blog, but I want to make sure you get the full picture. The program incorporates e-mentoring, is fully accessible, very informative, and highly interactive. AFB’s CareerConnect is the perfect source for finding job readiness skills, peer and mentor support, and self-advocacy guidance for blind and visually impaired individuals. These tools help empower blind or visually impaired students and job


Thank You to Alpha Point in KC!

I enjoyed getting the opportunity to speak to the teenagers from the Alpha Point Technology Camp in Kansas City, Missouri today. I spoke to a group of about 40 participants through a conference call line for about 20 minutes. I was asked to speak about the impact of technology on my life and work. I think this topic is tremendously important, as technology has allowed me to compete at a high level via access technology software and assistive technology. I was asked to speak about the work of the American Foundation for the Blind and my story. AFB does so much, and we make a large impact in so many different areas. I explained about the AFB family of websites including AFB CareerConnect, AccessWorld, FamilyConnect, VisionAware, and AFB.org. I mentioned work of our Public