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Browse By Topic: Personal Reflections

Christina Holtzclaw Uses Her Career to Empower People with Disabilities

For the last 14 years, Christina Holtzclaw has worked tirelessly at the Northwest Georgia Center for Independent Living in Rome, Georgia. This nonprofit organization assists individuals of all ages who have all types of disabilities and helps them reach their goals of living independently. They serve 15 counties, and the majority of the staff are people with disabilities. In her role as assistant director, Holtzclaw meets one-on-one with consumers in the community, collaborates with the office nursing home coordinator and other staff, works on the budget and finances, meets with the board of directors, and whatever else needs to be done. The core services of the Center are independent living skills training, information & referral, peer mentoring, self-advocacy, and transition

Self-Awareness as the Spine of a Solid Career as a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Hi job seeker, What careers will utilize your aptitudes? What career are you motivated to pursue? What accommodations will you utilize in order to excel in the job? What skills need to be honed in order to thrive and promote in the field? Accurately answering these questions requires keen self-awareness skills. So, what do we know about the benefits of self-awareness? Joe Strechay, Director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, discusses in the blog post, Self Awareness: Knowledge of

The Surprising Advantages of Attending Professional Conferences and How to Get the Most Out of Them

Alright students, job seekers, those who are looking to advance in your career, or even those of us who are looking to learn or improve upon a career skillthat likely includes every last one of us! I come bearing good news and a great resource. Let’s ask ourselves: What exactly is my goal or ambition as it relates to my career? What is it that I want? Maybe your response is to simply and quickly attain a first or subsequent job, or perhaps it’s to enhance your job performance, to

Deteriorating Eyesight and an Increasingly Difficult Workload to Manage

Demoralizing, frustrating, and intimidatingthree feelings common to individuals who are losing eyesight and who are recognizing their workload is becoming increasingly difficult to execute independently. If this describes you, you may feel all alone and hopeless. First, you are not alonetake a peek at the facts and figures of adults with vision loss. Second, there is hopelet’s examine how you can acquire skills in independent living, assistive technology, travel, and employment, enabling you to live a satisfying life at home and in the office. Relearning Independence In effort to acquire adaptive skills: Utilize

Paying It Forward as a Visually Impaired Mentor

Have you heard this before? You can’t change the world, but you can change one person at a time! As I reflect on my challenges and accomplishments as a person who is blind, two visually impaired people come to mind. They helped me understand what is possible, and their advice changed my outlook about living with vision loss and starting a career. My First Mentor The first one, I’ll call him Darren, was someone I had never encountered previously. My father learned about him through a newspaper article and thought I should read it too. It featured a story about Darren. It highlighted the fact that he was a blind business owner. He ran a karate studio and was

Maintaining Your Drive in the Face of Adversity

By now, you may know retinitis pigmentosa (RP) barged its way into my life during my college years. My CareerConnect blog posts have documented many of the challenges it created while pursuing goals, but I want to talk about maintaining the drive to reach them. Let’s be honest. No one anticipates losing their vision. It’s quite a surprise to be told blindness is inevitable. Shocking news of that sort can derail the best-laid career plans. My eye condition interrupted my drive to earn a

The Right Way to Archive Career History

Last week, a friend encouraged me to submit my resume to a nonprofit organization. She told me its executive director began searching for a new grant writer. Years ago, I would have dreaded the burden of updating my resume, but I was ready for it last week. See, I used to think a resume was a dump for all of my work and educational experience. The more experience I had, the more pages I needed to capture it all. So, I turned in these four- to five-page resumes when I applied for jobs. Ten years ago, I picked up a helpful tip about archiving my career-related history. Credit for this tip goes to

Turning a "Can’t" Into a "Can" As an Individual with Vision Loss

There have been many times in my life where I had to tell myself, Steve, you are your own worst enemy! Simply put, I made excuses for myself. Whether justified or not, I was my own worst enemy. I prevented myself from making timely progress. Timely is the operative word. No doubt, from time to time, I chose to say, I can’t, rather than, I can! Fear, anxiety, and despair crept into my mind, clouding what I knew was the right course of action for myself and my career. Early on, my skills for living with visual impairment were insufficient. I told myself I didn’t need any training. I had a lot of vision left, so no need for me to bother with basic skills, right?

Reducing Work-Related Stress for Blind and Visually Impaired Workers

I handled work-related stress poorly early on in my career. The mix of failing vision, ambition, and despair about my future created a hard to handle emotional state. After a bad first full-time job experience, I landed in a much better situation. Although it was better, it had its stresses too. Learning a new job, coping with vision loss, and pushing for perfection put a ton of pressure on me. I wasn’t prepared to handle all that stress. Frankly, I didn’t anticipate it becoming such a burden though. After a tough day at the office, I'd pour myself a drink and repeat that process one, two, or more times during the evening.

Meet John Carty: IBM Mainframe Programmer Who Is Visually Impaired

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we are happy to share another story of an employee with vision loss who is succeeding in the workplace. Today, we are sharing John Carty's story. John is a computer programmer who has learned to adapt quickly in an ever-changing industry. Read how John has managed to stay on top of his field for 20 years by asking all of the right questions. Meet John Carty, Visually Impaired Computer Programmer My name is John Carty, and my career as a computer programmer began when I graduated from El Centro College Computer Programmer Training for

Employment and the Pursuit of Happiness As an Individual with Vision Loss

If you are an American, no doubt, you have heard the phrase life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For a large majority of Americans, I feel this is still a big part of our overarching aspirations. In many places around the globe, it is very likely people pursue those ideals too. But, perhaps called by different names. When disability enters the picture though, it is often accompanied by uncertainty and fear; the two exact emotions that haunted my mind following my graduation from

Meet Denna Lambert: Visually Impaired Disability Program and Project Manager at NASA

In March 2017, Denna Lambert was a presenter at the AFB Leadership Conference in Alexandria, VA. She was on a panel where she shared about her life and career at NASA. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we wanted to continue the conversation and share more of her career success. Here’s her story. Denna Lambert Successfully Launches Her Career at NASA As a Visually Impaired Project Manager As Denna neared graduation, she began looking for a job with the help of her college's career services. Denna explained how she

Perseverance Pays Off: Finding Gainful Employment As a Physical Therapist with Vision Loss

It’s officially National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! A time to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. To kick off our favorite month, we are sharing Trina Bassak’s story. Trina is a physical therapist and VisionAware peer advisor who has glaucoma. After a difficult job search, Trina landed a job with AIM Home Health and quickly learned how to adapt her 27 years of experience into a new role as a home health physical therapist. Perseverance Pays Off: Finding Gainful Employment As a Physical Therapist By Trina Bassak <img

Three Traits That Make Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers Stand Out

I am amazed whenever I hear stories about fellow, blind and visually impaired individuals who are unstoppable. Personally, I know a few of them, and their accomplishments take my breath away. Let me be more specific: it is their positivity, their work ethic, and their grit that I admire. Those traits seem to be drivers of success. By no means am I saying those are the only meaningful ones, but, in my opinion, blind and visually impaired job seekers with those traits can turn into valuable assets for any organization. Just think for moment. Those of us who are blind or visually impaired learn a killer set of skills. In the course of developing those skills, our mindset develops as well. Where am I going with this? If you are a hiring

A Career Highlight Worth Sharing on the Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary

I touched upon this noteworthy job experience in a previous post, but, in celebration of the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I felt it deserved a deeper dive. Why? Because it is my favorite job experience where the ADA is concerned. Let me elaborate. The Job Search It started with a simple job search. Believe it or not, I found the job in the want ads of a newspaper. Yeah, a

Struggling to Disclose a Visual Impairment

Lessons Learned from Experience Let me start by saying I feel it is important to disclose a visual impairment during the hiring process. Especially, if a visual impairment is known and if a reasonable accommodation will be needed. That opinion comes from trial and error in my own experiences. I know the inner struggle very well though. I wanted to earn the jobs on my own merit and my own abilities. I did all I could to avoid my visual impairment from being interpreted as a weakness by others. Shortly, I will share with you four times I was in this situation. As I recollect, I was

My Evolving Perspective and Understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Twenty-seven years ago, a historic piece of legislation was on the verge of becoming law in the United States. For millions of Americans, it was a moment which had taken years to finally arrive. Little did I know that this legislation would one day be significant to me. Yes, you guessed it. The legislation I speak of is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It was the summer before I began my

Turn Fear into Action, Part 2: My Story of Losing a Job and Changing Careers

In the first post of Turn Fear into Action, I wrote about a possible scenario where job security evoked fear and how to handle it proactively. This time I will share a personal story of turning fear into action. Can you pinpoint the elements from part one in this story? My Story of Turning Fear into Action In early 2008, one of my biggest customers sent word to me that they would be ending a sales and service contract by the end of the year. This customer accounted for 60 to 70 percent of my self-employment income. A significant chunk of revenue. From the moment I heard the news, my stomach began turning, and my head

It's National Teacher Appreciation Day! How Will You Show Your Gratitude for Teachers of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

Today is a day for honoring all teachers in the teaching profession and for recognizing the contributions they have made to the lives of their students. Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller's beloved teacher, once said, "No greater honor can be paid a teacher than the recognition of her work." As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and former student of many influential teachers, I couldn't agree more with Anne. This week, students, parents, and others will recognize the important work

Is Your Visual Impairment the Reason Why You Aren’t in the Workforce? It Shouldn’t Be.

Does the thought of someone asking you what you do for a living fill you with anxiety, stress, or embarrassment? If you're currently unemployed, I imagine you'd like to avoid answering the question or change the topic of conversation. This might be especially true if you are at a social event with others who are employed and (boastfully) exchanging answers to the popular ice-breaking question, "What do you do for a living?" Working matters to us all; not only to sighted people but also to individuals who are disabled, including blindness and visual impairment. Holding a job contributes to our self-identity in

Self-Awareness Is Essential to Career Success As a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

If career success is likened to a well-built building, thorough self-awareness is the foundation. In engineering, it should be noted, the taller the architectural structure, the deeper the required foundation. So, how prepared for a well-built career are we? To thrive and progress in our careers, we’ll need a careful understanding of: Our strengths and how to leverage them on the job Our limitations and how to work around them on the job including job

Meet Jasmyn Polite: An Aspiring Teacher Living with Glaucoma

Born with bilateral cataracts and diagnosed with glaucoma as a child, Jasmyn Polite has faced her fair share of adversity, but she hasn't let a visual impairment stop her from working toward her dream of being a teacher. Jasmyn has created an educational plan, found volunteer and work experience, and connected with a mentor to help further develop her skills. She is well on her way to accomplishing her goals. Aside from teaching, Jasmyn is also interested in becoming an artist and published author. This 22-year-old has big ambitions.

Rudolph's Lessons in Rejection: How to Persevere As an Individual with a Visual Impairment

Dear discouraged job seeker, I see you. You want and need a job, but it feels like no employer is looking your way. You’re starting to think you either aren’t cut out for the working world, other applicants are far more qualified, hiring personnel aren’t interested in you because of your visual impairment, or there are simply no good, available jobs in your field. Whichever describes your situation or fear, it is not a barrier you can’t overcome. Here’s what I mean: If you presume the problem lies with you not being cut out for the working world, it’s time to

Resources You Haven't Thought of Before As a Visually Impaired Job Seeker

Resources You Haven't Thought of Before An article by Marilyn O'Malley published on August 3 in The Huffington Post, Fifteen Amazing Job Resources You Haven’t Thought of Before, made me think back on how I found the jobs I’ve held throughout my six decades of life. You’re probably thinking, You had a job in your first decade of life? Yes, indeed. My parents believed in earning your keep and expected me to do everything a sighted kid could do. I washed dishes (long before there were dishwashers); set the table; emptied trash

Make No Mistake, Reduced Vision Is Not Equivalent to Reduced Quality of Life

You've heard it said, Where there's a will, there's a way. When it comes to life after vision loss, let it be heard 'round the world, I say, Where there's vision rehabilitation services and a will, there's a way. From a young child born with no eyesight to an older adult who is adjusting to blindness, there is life- quality life- on the other side of the door. The door being services which teach individuals with visual impairments to lead independent lives (more accurately

A Head-On Look at Depression and Suicidal Thoughts in Persons with Visual Impairments

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Addressing depression and suicide is painful and messy, yet far too important to intentionally ignore or absentmindedly dismiss. Though not an expert on mental health, I am one who has lived through a season of depression. If there’s anything my experience taught me, it’s that we must look toward the inner beast (even the inclination towards depression) and fight it before it has the chance to take hold and choke the life right out us. You see, according to a JAMA Ophthalmology study in May 2013, there is an increase in depression in adults with

Those Who Labor Hard for the Betterment of Society, We Thank You and Wish You a Happy Labor Day

On this Labor Day, we celebrate those who turn the gears for America. Some of you work grueling, overnight shifts and others, tiring day shifts. Both imperative for our country to run. Some of you work in fast-past environments. Perhaps you work in the most critical, fast-paced environment: the hospital. I met you as you, quite literally, saved my daughter in the NICU. [How can I ever adequately thank you? I can’t, but I’ll live my life trying.] And others, slow-paced environments are your territory. Some of you work to cast visions, hire and train employees, and guide teams through trials and to success. I’ve

#LearnedInTexas: Employment Advice Absorbed in Texas for Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

You may remember I blogged Employment Advice Learned in Japan about a year ago, days before moving from Japan to Texas. Well, one week ago my husband completed his year-long military training program in San Antonio and we moved to Delaware. [Any Delawareans reading this? Let me know!]. As I sit here in my hotel room in Delaware, my mind transports me to Texas, my home state. Vast land, many a cattle ranch, helpful people, big hair [not knocking it, I'm currently

Where Were You 26 Years Ago?

By Neva Fairchild It may be hard to remember where you were personally on July 26, 1990 and perhaps you weren’t even born yet, but to identify where people with disabilities were prior to the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act is fairly easy to do. There were few protections for access to public services such as cabs, restaurants, or stores. Elevators didn’t have braille, apartment complexes

Who's Responsible for Your Job Search When You're Blind or Visually Impaired

As a person who is blind or visually impaired… A transition team goes to bat for you while you're in high school. They aim to instill the skills you need for future success as an adult. A Vocational Rehabilitation counselor may further train you and assist with purchasing

Sizzlin' Summer Travel Tips to Get Your Rest-From-Work On! (For Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired)

We made it! We practically made it to summertime that is. I think a vacation is in order. I’m feeling a little warm, how about y’all? Sure we didn’t have to wait until summer to break from work, but with our children on summer vacation and the warm sun shining, I always find summer an inviting time for respite. Where will you vacation this summer? As for me… We are moving to Delaware this month [Another move! This time last year we moved to Texas from Japan.] and have decided to road trip to our destination, stopping in large cities (Dallas, Nashville, D.C., etc.) along the way. Our vacation will include

To Jump or Not to Jump Back into School As a Career Seeking Adult Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Say you’re one of the many individuals who are blind or visually impaired who have attended a university for an undergraduate degree and who are having a difficult time achieving employment, landing a dream job, or keeping a decent job. While you have the minimum school requirements to enter your career field of interest, you may think the missing link to career success is additional schooling. It’s easy to convince ourselves a second Bachelor’s degree would provide the knowledge needed to obtain employment. It’s easy to convince ourselves a Master’s degree would provide the credibility and authority needed to promote. It’s easy

National Photography Month and Captured Memories: The Moment One Chooses a Career

May is National Photography Month (whatever that means!). I’ve mentioned I’m a photographer hobbyist, but have I mentioned I also capture memories in my journal? More than giving me creative outlets, photography and journaling give me opportunities to record moments and re-live them each time I flip through my images or journals. Take for instance the photo in this blog; it’s my younger daughter walking through the woods last year when we lived in Japan. I remember the exploring we did that day; the frigid air we endured, the fingernail-sized red insects we watched, and the fenced-in ponies we were surprised to come across. Another good memory I

Where Are They Now? Visually Impaired Nurse and Blogger, Audrey Demmitt

If you are a frequent follower of AFB blogs, you probably have heard of Audrey Demmitt, VisionAware peer advisor and blogger extraordinaire. But did you know that Audrey worked as a nurse for 30 years before she became a writer? Better yet, did you know that Audrey is also a mentor of AFB CareerConnect? In honor of the upcoming National Nurses Week, we decided to take some time this month to learn more about Audrey to see how she is inspiring others through her continued workplace and personal success. Check out this preview of

Nurses with Disabilities Have Great Abilities, Part One

Are you interested in pursuing a career in healthcare? Pursuing your dream job can be an arduous process, but it is one that can really pay off in the end. But what if you are visually impaired? Or what if you develop vision loss during your pursuit? No matter your visual impairment, you have to believe in yourself. With enough hard work and motivation, you can achieve your goals. Nurses with Disabilities Have Great Abilities by Detra Bannister For some odd reason when I was growing up I never thought about nurses or doctors being sick or having disabilities. I guess their association with treating the sick and

Congratulations to the Recipients of the IBM People with Disabilities Student Awards at Web4All 2016!

This was the second year that Web4All was able to grant qualifying students the IBM People with Disabilities Award. This year, four winners received the award, and presented their work to a community of researchers and practitioners who are working to make web, mobile, and wearable devices accessible for all. We thought that CareerConnect readers would enjoy hearing about the challenging work these students who are blind or visually impaired are pursuing, as well as what led them into their current fields of study. Ashley Cwikla, is a doctoral student at University of the Cumberlands, currently working at Harvard University as an Adaptive Technology Coordinator. She is earning her PhD in Education

Money Management: How Do You Teach It to Teens Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

Let's play a game my children love: "Would You Rather?" Would you rather enter adulthood with a firm understanding of how your parents managed their money (including earning money; paychecks and taxes; budgeting; wise spending; saving; loans and debt; credit and debit cards; savings accounts; giving; and investing) or would you rather enter adulthood with minimal knowledge of how your parents earned, saved, and spent? Of course, I already know your answer. Though as a parent I know it's easier to independently purchase our family needs than include the children in the process. After all, money management is a private and

Motivate an Employment Team By Recognizing Their Personality Colors: Information for Work-Oriented Individuals Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Fully Sighted

You may remember I went to “The Four Lenses 4-Temperament Discovery”, an “understanding your personality color” workshop. To recap, I learned my personality color order: blue (characterized by connection, empathy, and care), orange (characterized by variety, fun, and adventure), gold (characterized by order, methods, and leadership), and then green (characterized by analytics, details, and logic). We all display all four colors, but in any respective order. To learn more about personality color, check out

Your Personality Color and Where You Shine: Information for Work-Oriented Individuals Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Fully Sighted

Last night I went to an “understanding your personality color” workshop and soaked up the information as much for myself as for the purpose of relaying it to you. Okay, it was technically entitled “The Four Lenses 4-Temperament Discovery”, but that doesn’t sound exciting or personal enough for the likes of my personality color combination. While there, I answered a series of questions about how I would respond to various situations, and my score tally revealed my personality color order: blue (characterized by connection, empathy, and care), orange (characterized by variety, fun, and adventure), gold (characterized by order, methods, and leadership),

Effective Time Management Advice for Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

As I sift through piles of work and school assignments, I find it ironic that I am writing a post about managing time. Often there are times when we are overwhelmed with unexpected work and begin to fall of track. Life can get hectic for everyone, but it is important to remember that embracing time management tactics will help us be more successful not only at work but in our day-to-day lives. By better managing your time, you are less stressed, better organized, and have more time for the more enjoyable moments of life. Being organized is beneficial to everyone. If you are unemployed and looking for a job, being unorganized can hinder your process,

Today is Thank Your Mentor Day! Celebrate Your Mentor Relationship As a Mentee Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

If you needed an extra reason to show appreciation for your mentor during National Mentoring Month, today is the day. Today, January 21st is “Thank Your Mentor Day”. Today, mentees from all over are encouraged to reach out and honor the individuals who have guided them. I personally have had many mentors during my educational, career, and personal life paths. I have been fortunate to be connected to such inspirational people who have helped guide me over the years. Reflecting on “Thank Your Mentor Day” I am reminded of my tenth grade English teacher, Mrs. Underwood. Although it has been years since I have spoken to her, Mrs.

Universal Expectation for Employees with Vision Loss: The Importance of Improving Your Braille Literacy Skills

When you think about the “Top 10” skills employers look for, what comes to mind? What about communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills? Maybe even time management or leadership ability. While all of these skills are important to employers, there is one universal skill that is necessary for all employees-to-be regardless of the position. Can you guess what it is? What skill set do you think that all employers expect in a potential employee? Literacy skills! Literacy skills help you gain the knowledge and know-how to perform your job, and while this means reading print and using media and technology for your sighted peers,

"My Disabilities Are Just One Part of Who I Am”

It is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the national theme is "My Disability is One Part of Who I Am." AFB and AFB CareerConnect wants to support this theme, and here is my contribution to the cause. I am an individual with disabilities. I grew up with a learning disability that impacted how I learned and accessed information. I can remember what a struggle learning to read was for me. I can remember hiding assignments that overwhelmed me in my desk. I am also a

Better Sleep Means Better Job Performance and Job Satisfaction: Improving Sleep Disorders in People Who Are Blind

Having recently moved from Japan to America, I can attest to the misery of weeklong jetlag. Functioning in social settings was unwelcome; completing job tasks was painstaking; and applying critical thinking skills was laborious, if at all possible. Knowing that many people who are blind have circadian rhythm sleep disorders that feel like bouts of jetlag, I knew I needed to address the struggle. I recognize the recurring or constant battle you may face in falling asleep, staying asleep through the night, and sleeping until morning. Consequently, I recognize the struggle of exhaustion at work, the fight to stay awake and alert in the afternoon, and the

Summer Challenge: Get Physically Fit

Summer is a great time to get back in shape. After being inside for months and eating more than we should, the warm weather is the best encouragement to get outside and get physical. Being physically fit can help improve your overall quality of life. By staying active and eating well, you can improve your heart health, build strong bones, and start to look and feel better all around. And believe or not, but a healthy lifestyle can also improve how you feel at work! People who are in shape report having more energy, improved self-esteem, and can better manage

Blind Beauty: Feeling Beautiful Beyond Sight

When asked what makes you beautiful would you immediately state physical attributes like your hair, or your figure? Would you look at yourself in a mirror and pick your eyes or your smile? What if you were blind? How would you describe beauty without the help of a mirror? How should any of us really describe beauty? Dove is notorious for ad campaigns that empower women and encourage positive thoughts on inner and outer beauty. Most recently Dove has launched an ad in their Swedish market that encourages women to view beauty as a feeling instead of a physical descriptor. The commercial features three blind or visually impaired women who describe when they feel

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

Receiving Vision Rehabilitation Services When You Live in a Rural Community for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Desiring the content of the AFB CareerConnect blog to be relevant and useful, I recently asked a group of adults with visual impairments for their career-related concerns and questions. The first question that caught my attention was from Andrew; "How can a person who is blind or visually impaired get training if there is no local support?" This is an important question, Andrew. Please hear my response that is intended for all people who are blind or visually impaired living in rural communities First, don't assume there are no vision rehabilitation services in your area. When I worked as a transition specialist with the

Losing Vision and the Fear of Losing Work As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

My dear friend has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and is losing her vision. Today she received word that, due to blindness, she is losing her driver's license on January 5, 2015. She is very concerned about her future, particularly her future at work. Maybe hers is a story you know well and identify with. If so, my heart is saddened for your loss of sight. I can't fully comprehend it or understand it; I'd be lying if I said I did. However, I care. I care deeply. I have assembled information and resources to assist you in the process of transitioning and coping with vision loss.

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

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 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 Sixth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 6 Ways to Relieve or Manage Work-Related Stress As a Worker Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

As we continue the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect with our sixth day, we felt addressing stress was appropriate with the holiday season upon us. Depending on your work, you might deal with deadlines, coworker absences, floods of customers, increased hours, frustrated consumers, or stress on your own personal budget. Every worker faces stress on the job at one point or another. You could be working in an office or in fast food, but all jobs have instances of stress. Successful workers typically know how to handle stress in a healthy manner, and I am not talking about hitting your computer or cash register with

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 Eleventh Day of AFB CareerConnect: 11 Profiles of Successful People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

We continue the countdown of the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect, like the 12 Days of Christmas, but with our CareerConnect spin on the countdown. Here is the eleventh day of AFB CareerConnect. Are you still unsure of what career is right for you? Check out these eleven popular real life stories about the professions of CareerConnect mentors! Maybe one of them will give you an itch to learn more. Just click on the job title and off you go! 11 Mentors Profiled on AFB CareerConnect 11.

12 Days of AFB CareerConnect Tips and Advice for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Most people are familiar with the song, the Twelve Days of Christmas, but what about twelve days of AFB CareerConnect? Give yourself the gift of being better prepared to get a great job by taking some time this holiday season to brush up on your career resource skills as we countdown to Christmas, the New Year, and the holiday season with a refresher on some of our past tips and advice. We will be posting 12 blog posts up until Christmas. The fact is that the job search is not over during the holiday season. As employers are still looking to fill positions and make decisions. Utilize our 12

Where Are They Now? Larry Johnson, Author and Presenter Extraordinaire Who is Blind

Remember Larry Johnson from his Our Stories profile? Last time AFB CareerConnect talked with Larry, he told us about his work as a disc jockey, human resources manager, author, and more! But what has Larry been up to recently? Aside from being an accomplished writer, Larry is still active in presentations and workshops. He was the recent keynote speaker at the state convention of the American Council of the Blind of Texas, and he just

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

Aaron Preece, Lessons From Employment Experience at the American Foundation for the Blind

Finding a job or selecting a career path can be a difficult challenge, but job seekers who are blind or visually impaired should not be discouraged. Anyone who is willing to work hard, find available opportunities, and make connections will achieve success. Although it may seem impossible at the time, it is important to remember that there are many other people just like you that have found career success. Internships Internships are an excellent way to gain work experience and make connections. They allow students to gain hands-on experience by working with professionals and provide students a chance to determine which line of work is best for

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,

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

Celebrating White Cane Safety Day As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

White Cane Safety Day or White Cane Day is celebrated on October 15, and I felt this was the perfect time to tell you about traveling as a person who is blind of visually impaired. I have a white cane nicknamed "Slim" that travels with me everywhere. It isn't always easy, but I wouldn't do it any other way at this point in time. I have been a cane traveler for a number of years now, and it isn't always perfect. I choose to use a heavier and more durable white cane as I travel a lot and my cane takes a beating. Recently, I was traveling through Grand Central Station in New York City when I hit something with my cane. There was

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

The 10th Annual Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law Feature Story: Jack Chen, Google Patent Attorney & Legally Blind

AFB CareerConnect's latest Our Stories piece is part of the Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law. Each year, a feature is done on an outstanding mentor and individual who is blind or visually impaired and working in the field of law. CareerConnect's Our Stories section highlights the success stories of those who are excelling in their professions. The section is packed with over a hundred pieces and organized for ease of navigation so you can learn about the employment paths and life adventures of these outstanding individuals. Having been an inventor at heart since childhood,

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

Interview with Christine Ha, Visually Impaired, New York Times Best Selling Author, Chef, Writer, and TV Show Co-Host

Over the past two years, you have seen a number of posts from me about the talented and amazing Christine Ha, winner of the FOX Network's MasterChef Season 3, New York Times bestselling author, and co-host of "Four Senses." Well, I have wanted to give you an update for a while now. I took the opportunity to ask her when seeing her in-person at the Helen Keller Achievement Awards this past June. Christine is busy preparing for the start of season 2 of her show, "Four Senses," which is a television show in Canada. I hope this show gets picked up in the United States in the near future. When I first connected with Christine, MasterChef Season 3 was only a few weeks in. I felt

Vanda Pharmaceuticals on Working from Home or Self-Employment for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Recently, I have been contacted by a lot of job seekers interested in working from home or self-employment. I have written about these topics a number of times in the past, so I will review and link to my past posts about these topics. The topic of working from home has been highlighted a bit more because many people who are blind deal with the condition Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, or Non-24, and Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has developed a treatment for the disorder. I was asked to do a podcast for them specific to the impact of Non-24 on employment and some considerations for those impacted. The fact is that I have a lot of friends who battle with this

The Fear of the Foreign: Addressing Unspoken Concerns of Hiring Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

I am sitting on the Shinkansen, or bullet train, for a three-and-a-half-hour journey from Tokyo to Misawa after a three-month stint in America. I’ve lived in Japan for two years, and after a mere three months away, I am surprisingly experiencing culture shock once again as I travel home (very jet-lagged, but that’s off topic). Across the front screen of the train, kanji characters are scrolling by, which I assume announce each stop. I don’t read kanji. It’s unfamiliar and my lack of knowledge of the writing system puts me on edge. Will I miss my stop? Other questions running through my mind as I settle back to Japan: When I ask culture-related questions, am I insulting Japanese persons? How different are we? How can we relate? I cannot tell you how helpful it would be

The Sweet Smell of Success for Blind Entrepreneur Gerry Leary

I recently read an article praising Gerry Leary for perfecting the roasting of coffee. I was intrigued; my husband and I roast our own coffee. The article explained that Gerry has no vision, and relies on his sense of smell and hearing, in addition to a talking thermometer, to perfect the roasting process. I continued to read. This man owns his own cafe. I was inspired; an entrepreneur and expert roaster. I wondered if he would talk with me a few minutes and give us his story. I sent him an e-mail and held my breath. Gerry spoke with me for an hour. I laughed; I teared up; I learned. He told me how

A Valuable Lesson from Syed Hassan, AFB's Web Intern

I am not the most tech-savvy person in the world. I try my best to keep up-to-date on technology and to fix any problems that come up, but I don't handle it well when it doesn't work out. I usually end up getting into a duel of wits with my computer. Unfortunately, the computer always wins. After I admitted defeat this last time, I found CareerConnect's newest Our Stories piece about Syed Hassan. Syed is a computer science major and a Web intern

What a Long Strange Trip It Was: The Importance of Getting Back to Basics

Yes, I did just reference the Grateful Dead in the title of this post, as I am definitely a fan. I wrote a post recently about how I use my iPhone and apps in many aspects of my life. I was using it last night to take notes on a project that I was reading through on my computer, while sitting on a bed with technology on my lap and all around me. Picture a guy with ear buds running to two different devices at all times. That's pretty much how I spend most of my life. I was traveling to a meeting the other day

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

Research for Employment Means a lot of Homework for Job Seekers Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

In the past, I have done a post about doing your research on your prospective employers. I am a bit of a "geek" and I want to know as much as possible. I probably ask too many questions and spend too much time learning about employers and clients. I think back to when I was applying for my initial job at AFB. They asked for a few sample presentations and pieces of writing. I sent way more than requested. I made sure to know the different aspects of the program, and I reached out to former employees of the organization for insight into the organization. I wanted to make sure I knew the culture and values of the organization. I can tell you my initial

Accessible iPhone Apps That Help Me Manage Work, Life, and Travel As a Blind Professional

I wanted to take the time to write a little bit about how my iPhone allows me more access. I could say to my life, work, but it is so much more than that. I know my wife might argue that I am a bit too much in love with my iPhone, but it provides access through one device that fits in my pocket like I didn't have prior. You might say this post is five years too late, but the fact is the apps and access has changed since that point. I know many people who are blind would agree with me or provide their own insight into the access created. I use Voiceover on my iPhone, and I truthfully wish I could increase the verbosity of it past the current high end. Apple, if

Why Do You Work for AFB?

Are you blind? No, sir; I am not. Oh... Why are you working at AFB then? Believe it or not, this is the most popular question I have been asked during my internship, but I still dont have a simple answer for it. My name is Katy Lewis, and I will be a senior at Marshall University in the fall. I am majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing and history, and I am an intern for the American Foundation for the Blinds (AFB) CareerConnect(r) program. I am not blind or visually impaired. But just because I am not blind, however, does not mean that I am not affected

Achieving Success: Do You Have That Needed Fire in Your Belly?

If you've ever had a fire in your belly to do something so challenging that no one believed you could do it, you are not alone. You also know what it feels like when people tell you that you cant do what your heart says you can. Have you given up or are you still trying? Go ahead; take another look at the picture on the canvas of your imagination. Read about and learn from Nancy Shugart to get motivated and inspired by a genuine people builder, who found a way to make her ambitions successful realities! When you're finished reading, be sure to share with your own personal networks to inspire others

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

Pursue Your Passion! Career Exploration Advice for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

I'm a photographer on the side. Four years ago I purchased my first DSLR (or high quality digital camera), ferociously unpacked it, and clicked away. Practically non-stop. Seriously, to the extreme. I saw those rolled eyes when I daily opened my camera bag. I took the camera everywhere! I uploaded the digital files to my desktop and was disappointed with the results each day. I had the equipment, but could not produce the results. I have been on the brink of throwing in the towel on at least fifty occasions. Four years later, what changed? Four years, that's what changed. I captured moments with my camera almost daily for four years in order to develop my photography skills. I learned to use my tool, the camera, by Googling, “How do I...(fill in the blank).” I was

Advancing in Employment: Solving Problems and Filling Gaps As a Professional Who is Blind

There are many paths to advancement on the job and in the workplace. Many people are happy enough when they get the job. Many persons with disabilities or who are blind or visually impaired don't find the road to advancement as clear cut. But, if you set the standard, meet or exceed your employer's expectations, and there is a path for advancement from other employees leaving or retiring, you will generally advance up the ladder. However, not everyone wants to wait years and years for an opportunity to advance. I currently manage the AFB CareerConnect Program, but I have ambitions for advancement in the future, and so should you. If a higher position isn't immediately available, you can create your own opportunity by increasing your

Even Nursing Careers Can Be Adjusted to Vision Loss

As a former school nurse I was very excited to see CareerConnect Mentor, Audrey Demmitt, post her story about working as a nurse with vision loss on AFBs VisionAware. Although it has been many years and a career change later, by reading Audrey's experiences I was easily able to relive my own experiences of adjusting my career to vision loss through hers. For the longest time I thought I must be

AFB CareerConnect Is More than a Website; It's a Resource for Success

This past week, I participated in the American Foundation for the Blind's 2014 Leadership Conference in Brooklyn, NY. I arrived early in New York to conduct a teen employment workshop at the Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, which holds a special place in my heart. I did my student teaching at Edward R. Murrow after completing my graduate work at Florida State University. I worked with 15 high-school-age students on self-awareness related to navigating the employment process as a person who is blind or visually impaired. A lot of the workshop is me asking the participants questions. All of the information is relevant to career exploration, interviewing, and succeeding in life. Throughout the workshop, I provide youth with real-life examples related to the main points. The

Albert Rizzi, an Advocate and CEO, Who Flys High

After returning from the AFB Leadership Conference in Brooklyn and recovering from two weeks of travel, workshops, meetings, and a wonderful conference, I am all kinds of excited to push a lot of information out to you. My partner in crime, Detra Bannister, wrote an Our Stories piece about Albert Rizzi. She posted her story right before the conference, and if you attended the conference, you might have met him. Mr. Rizzi spoke at the AccessWorld Technology Summit during the preconference. I can report that Mr. Rizzi is the real deal, and he is making a difference for persons

Resumés Need to Be Updated More Often than Your Wardrobe!

Many people submit the same resumé time after time, with little updates or changes. This is a mistake, you should customize your resumé for each position that you are applying for. I would also say that the formats for resumés change over time. What was a common format for a resumé might now be considered out of date. I spent the weekend updating my resumé, as I have to use my resumé for AFB when we apply for grants, subcontracts, and also when nominated for committees or boards. I am pretty good about keeping it up to date, but I spent hours changing the format of my resumé to make

How Specialized Services Impacted My Life and Why They Need to Be Strengthened

Recently, AFB has spent a lot of time creating a series of handouts and webpages specific to the strengthening of specialized services. I am a huge supporter for specialized services, as I wouldn't be where I am today without those services. I get a bit emotional because getting connected to vocational rehabilitation services and specialized training opened huge doors for me and allowed me to transform into a confident, independent, and skilled person.

A CareerConnect Mentor Broadcasting Great Music Through Public Radio

For National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we felt it was time to present to you a story about our good friends from West Virginia: Ed and Karen McDonald, long-time friends of AFB and CareerConnect. In fact, Ed is a CareerConnect mentor! They produce a popular syndicated radio show, Sidetracks, right from their West Virginia home. Ed likes to call the show’s format "handmade music." It's the difference between sitting in a handmade, one-of-a-kind wooden chai, or a plastic stack chair. They describe the program

Push Your Limits and Take Measured Risks

Disclaimer: I wrote this post on my day off; I took the day off for the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting board meeting. It is actually my first board meeting and orientation to the board. I serve on other boards, and I was truly excited to be voted onto this one. I really care a lot about public broadcasting, and West Virginia has a great public broadcasting system. In October, on AFB CareerConnect, we will be profiling a couple that has their own radio show on WV Public

Dress and Impress: Not Just a CareerConnect Video, a Must for Interviews

I'd like to talk to you about the fact that professional dress when on an interview is a must! Even for interns, no exceptions. (Heck especially for interns.) If you want to impress someone, you should show up professionally attired. Period, end of story. Well, not literallyI actually have a bit more to say. While speaking to people around the country, I keep hearing that people still show up to interviews dressed unprofessionally. I just don’t get it. I consider that just one of the real simple and basic components to interviewing. I am not talking about interviewing to be an underwear model, and then professional dress might

Find Out How Sharon Fridley Connected People Throughout Her Career: Read Her CareerConnect "Our Stories" Piece!

Are you still trying to decide what to do for a career? You're not alone. Many youth and adults spend time contemplating different careers and jobs. AFB CareerConnect(r)'s "Our Stories" section provides an opportunity to read about successful people who are blind or visually impaired. Find out about their employment, job accommodations, and use of technology. For our latest addition to "Our Stories," I connected with Sharon Fridley, and I hope to give you some information and referrals inspired by her line of work. Sharon Fridley, now retired from the

Experience Drives Inspiration for the Future: Reflecting Back on My Inspiration from the FSU Visual Disabilities Program

As I prepare for the Florida Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference in Tallahassee, Florida, I started thinking about the inspiration that brought me to AFB CareerConnect. I did my graduate work at Florida State University, and the conference is combined with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Visual Disabilities Program at FSU. Attending the FSU program has impacted my life tremendously. While involved in the program, I was able to

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

Newly Reorganized “Our Stories” Section Has Launched: Find Success Stories by Career Cluster and More!

Hello CareerConnect Friends, AFB CareerConnect has been busily preparing to launch the reorganized "Our Stories" section. The section has always been packed with tons of great success stories about mentors and other persons who are blind or visually impaired. Now, you will be able to find stories of interest by career field and other categories from the right-side navigation. If you have contacted CareerConnect, you probably know me, Detra Bannister. I am the Employment Specialist within CareerConnect. I have been writing the "Our Stories"

Do Your Research on Possible Employers: Putting in the Work Pays Off!

Finding a job is a full-time job, and most people don't put in the necessary time in the process. The commitment to getting a job requires more than a few hours here and a few there. During the job search, doing the research on employers makes a large difference. Invest the time to know about the organization, the specific field, and the current trends. Check out information on the specific business of interest, but also investigate the competition. No employer will tell you that you are too informed about their business or the current market. I can give some examples of this in practice. I was applying for internships in communications and public relations at the end of my undergraduate education. I was interviewing with a communications firm. I did my homework on

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 I mentioned work of our Public

Thoughts from the Road: Dealing with the General Public and Always Being "On"

When I speak around the United States (as also referenced in my commencement address post), I try to mention the fact that we are always disclosing about our disability. I do this constantly when traveling, as I meet many people in all kinds of situations. I vary the information that I provide depending on the situation. This is all my own judgment on the amount of information to disclose. My last trip was a short vacation for some much needed relaxation and unplugging from the electronic world, which was quite nice. My wife and I have discussed one of my