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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


Community Travel Skills—a Predictor of Workplace Success for Individuals Who Are Blind

When you and I take a look at the employment statistics for people who are visually impaired, we wonder what can be done to improve them; specifically, we wonder how to educate potential employers, and we wonder if there are any skills individuals who are employed have that those who are seeking employment may need to master. Hence, I’ve been reviewing research and articles this morning. I’m discerning the research-based benefits of braille use,


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


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


Students with Visual Impairments, College Is Different from High School!

Did you wake up in your dorm room during your first few weeks of college and think, College isn’t anything like high school! For many students with vision loss, this can be a rude awakening. You no longer have a teacher of students with visual impairments to adapt materials, make sure you have your textbooks on time, or intercede with your teachers when you need an accommodation. It’s essential that you know your


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


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


Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind Are Employable; Helen Keller Is Proof

Two days ago, I returned an item to a retail store and had the pleasure of being assisted by an employee who was deaf-blind. Coincidentally, this week happens to be Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week. I seized the opportunity to observe the employee work and immediately felt proud of him and thankful to the retail store for giving him the opportunity to work. Not only was he earning a paycheck, but he was essentially demonstrating to everyone in the store that individuals who are deaf-blind can be successfully employed in the workforce. As I stood in line, I compared his actions to the non-disabled employees in the store working. He exuded confidence in his abilities to assist each customer. His smile and effective communication skills using sign language were welcoming


Avoid a Rough Transition to Work As a Job Seeker Who Is Visually Impaired

AFB CareerConnect’s Resources Pave the Way Well, here we are in the graduation season. Congratulations to you if you are celebrating at this time of the year. Many of you are transitioning from high school or college to work this summer. For those of you who have not landed a job yet, hang in there, be sure to use CareerConnect resources for conducting your job search. I have a personal story to share about my first career endeavor. It is a cautionary tale. But, learn from my experience and plan accordingly. <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=7685" alt="Older man and young man shaking hands while


Solutions or Excuses? Which Describes Your Actions As a Job Seeker or Employee Who Is Visually Impaired

The title of my blog may cause you to raise your brow. As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) working to prepare my students who are blind or visually impaired for the workforce, I find myself raising my brow when I hear excuses from students who choose not to locate or utilize known solutions to be successful in school, successful in the workforce, and well, just successful period! All of my students with vision loss are capable of achieving their individual greatness in this world, and I know you are too. I get it. I'm guilty of making excuses too. We all are. Excuses are often our way to deter our regrets or humiliation and protect ourselves from criticism. When I didn't exercise yesterday by going on my daily walk, I blamed it on the Florida heat. It was a credible


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


Developing the Confidence to Succeed in the Workforce As a Person Who Is Visually Impaired

Editor's Note: Today's blog post is by Steve Cardenas. Steve has a combined 22 years of corporate, small business, and nonprofit experience. His personal mission is to help blind and visually impaired individuals unlock their potential and attain employment and career advancement. Developing the Confidence to Succeed in the Workforce By Steve Cardenas Do you feel frustrated about entering the workforce? Do you talk yourself out of pursuing job opportunities? Do you feel like your skills and accomplishments are inadequate? I confess. I answered “yes” to those questions a few times during the last 20 years of living with retinitis pigmentosa. I am guessing, because you are a CareerConnect reader, you know


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


Free Instructional Resources for Preparing Teens Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired for Summer Work

Summer, we’re coming for you! As we anticipate summertime as the beloved sunshine and vacation time, let us also anticipate summertime as the perfect time for our teen clients who are blind and visually impaired to attain work experiences. Whether you are a teacher for students with visual impairments working in the school system and you have but three months left with your teens before summer break begins, or you are a transition specialist who is now gearing up for a summer program, my hope is you can utilize one or more of these lesson series to prepare your clients for successful summer volunteer or paid work. Resources


Hey Teens with Visual Impairments, Looking for a Summer Job?

In less than two months, it will be June, school will end, and summer will be underway. Your friends and yes, even your teachers, will start their summer jobs. Will you? Let's face it. You're running out of time. The standard method of researching and applying for summer job openings can be time-consuming. It's time to ramp up your job hunt by using "word of mouth" or "good old-fashioned networking" to spread the buzz you are looking for a summer job, internship, or an opportunity to volunteer your time. Yes, I know. You caught me. I expanded your search to include a


Preparing for an IEP Season that Yields a Refund (or Return) for Future Job Seekers

As a tax payer, I'm feeling the crunch of tax filing season. If you're receiving a refund from the IRS, perhaps you are looking forward to the tax filing deadline on April 18th. However, if you owe the IRS more money, a sense of dread may best describe your feelings about the annual season and imminent deadline. As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI), I'm also feeling the crunch of IEP (or Individualized Education Program) season. While I prepare to update student IEP's for next school year, I find myself pausing to consider how IEP season is similar to tax season. In addition to meeting deadlines and the paperwork involved, some students who are


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


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


Who Can Assist Me with Developing a Resume?

I wonder how many job seekers feel similarly to my good friend, Jaci, a military veteran who paused from the workforce for several years as she reared her young children. Today, while working part-time in their school, she is finishing her degree in Human Resources and looking forward to jumping back into a full-time career. Needless to say, she has concerns with her resume. How can she explain her gap in employment? How can she generalize all the knowledge and skills she acquired in the


CareerConnect at the Movies: Employment Advice Adapted from Film for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

If you're looking for the perfect mix of holiday festivities and practical career-related advice, you've come to the right place. Over the years, we have celebrated the holiday season by providing you with the job search advice and career resource skills you need to land your next job. And this year is no different! From the creators that brought you The Twelve Days of CareerConnect and


Do You Have the Qualities of a Good Employee?

Do you have the qualities of a good employee? Before you answer this question, you probably need to know what qualities employers value. The new checklist in the Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide will help you self-evaluate the personal qualities you have that all employers look for in employees. Your teachers, family, and friends can also give you feedback on how they perceive you, but you must ask them to be honest to help you improve. It’s not


First Steps in the Employment Process for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is the perfect time to jump start your path to gainful employment as a student who is blind or visually impaired. But how do you begin to take control and move toward your goal of having a job? Simple! The best way to learn something is to do it. Working while you're in school is the most important thing you can do to prepare for the workforce as an adult. It's hard to imagine that a part-time job after school, during the summer, or on weekends is so important for your future, but research tells us it is the single best predictor of being successfully employed once you finish school.


Help Your Students Successfully Transition to Work During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

It's finally National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), CareerConnect's favorite time of the year! It's time to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and raise awareness about the value of a diverse, inclusive workforce. The successful employment of people with vision loss requires awareness on many fronts. Parents of children with low vision or blindness, you need to know that people who are blind work in a wide variety of careers and jobs in order to dream for and encourage your child to strive for all they can achieve. Teachers of


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


AFB CareerConnect Launches the Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide

AFB CareerConnect is proud to announce the addition of the Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide on the CareerConnect website. With the national implementation of the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), states are working to increase pre-employment transition services to youth who are blind or visually impaired to assist them in accessing and succeeding in the workforce. AFB CareerConnect has responded to this innovative and important act by developing activities to


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


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


10 Resources for Transitioning from High School to College or Work As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

How are you feeling about your upcoming transition from high school? Can college “not come soon enough” or are you hoping time will slow down because you appreciate the support of home life and you don’t want to say goodbye to your local friends? Maybe you’re feeling a little of both, and that’s normal too. While your time in school will forever be full of memories and nostalgia, your future is just as exciting and worth preparing for. Let me help with that. Check out these 10 resources from CareerConnect to get you ready for tomorrow: Peruse our


How to Successfully Transition from High School to College and Work As a Student Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

I’m really proud of you. Here you are reading about your upcoming transition from high school, which means you’re taking initiative in preparing for your future. You’re on the right track; taking initiative is, in my opinion, the biggest predictor of workplace success. So here’s what you can do to prepare yourself for a smooth, exciting transition into adulthood: Continue on your journey of self-awareness. Figure out your interests, values, goals, abilities, and how you come across to others. Learn more by reading


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


The Purpose of Transition Goals When You are 14-22 Years Old and Blind or Visually Impaired

I thought that just maybe, with the hustle and bustle of life at home, with the school’s emphasis on standardized tests, and with the often uncertain future plans of teens and adults, it would be easy to lose sight of this year’s “transition goals” or to disregard their importance. Why don’t we take a step back and refocus on the purpose of transition goals. This process of refocusing is simple and, might I add, refreshing. It reminds us of what is truly important, and it allows for your individuality, your strengths and weaknesses. Because at the end of the day, the school day for instance, your flourishing adult life will


Summer Challenge: Get Mentally Fit As a Person With a Disability

Being healthy can mean a lot of different things. It can mean exercising regularly, cutting out the sugary drinks, eating three square salads a day, or even getting enough sleep. When you really think about it, we do a lot to improve our physical health, but what are we doing about our overall well-being? What are we doing to become mentally fit? When work becomes overwhelming and life gets stressful, what are you doing to overcome these obstacles? This week we are challenging you to discover what makes you mentally fit to succeed in any aspect of life. Mental fitness is about keeping your brain and emotional health in the best possible shape. This could


Diversity and Inclusion - A Diverse Workforce That Includes Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Diversity and inclusion within corporations has become an important effort around the United States, and I want to take a few minutes to address this topic. As you probably already know, I am the American Foundation for the Blind's CareerConnect Program Manager. In this role, I manage this program with a great team, but I also travel the country doing workshops for youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired and the professionals who work with them. I feel lucky to also work with the United States Business Leadership Network's (USBLN) Career Link Student Mentoring


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


Our Stories Interview with Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs – Constituent Relations for Walmart and Blind, Russell Shaffer

The work of our team at the AFB CareerConnect Program at the American Foundation for the Blind allows us to bring you such great stories about our top notch AFB CareerConnect e-Mentors, and the latest story is no different. The Our Stories Section is packed with inspirational and educational success stories about our mentors and friends who are blind or visually impaired. The latest story is the "Interview With


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


National Mentoring Month: Importance of Mentors for Those Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

AFB CareerConnect(r) applauds a telling survey recently conducted by the National Mentoring Partnership which, according to their report, finds that one in three young people reach adulthood without ever receiving help or support from a mentor. This compelling report, The Mentoring Effect, "is the first-ever nationally representative survey of young people on the topic of both informal and formal mentoring.” Simply put, it finds that “youth with mentors experience [greater] significant positive outcomes” than those who do not receive mentoring. Being that CareerConnect, the career education and


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 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 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 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


Holiday Travel Ideas and Tips for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

After working diligently all year, it's quite refreshing to pause during the holiday season and enjoy a hard-earned vacation. Do you prefer the convenience of a cruise, the cost effectiveness of exploring a nearby city, or the enjoyment of visiting family? Whichever you prefer, review these holiday travel ideas and tips for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. If traveling solo or with other non-drivers, search for destinations that offer a variety of appealing experiences within walking distance, a phenomenal public transportation system, or affordable taxi rides. If the idea of traveling with a group is attractive and not off-putting, browse tour


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


Attention, Employers—This Is Employment Discrimination: "Do you have a driver's license?"

Recently, I have been hearing from state vocational rehabilitation counselors, job seekers, and noticed this myself employers are using job descriptions and online application systems with a question similar to this: "Do you have a valid state driver's license?" This question could be introductory or listed as an "Additional Requirement" even when driving is not an essential job duty or task specific to the job. The tricky part is that this question is most likely filtering out applicants who say "no" to the question. What are job seekers who are blind or visually impaired supposed to do? Well, it leaves answering "no" to the question or lying by stating


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


Geared Up for the Fall CSAVR and NCSAB Conferences in Miami

I am making preparations for the 2014 Council of State Administrators for Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and the National Council of State Administrators for the Blind (NCSAB) conferences in Miami. No, I am not packing my bathing suit and sunscreen; I am packing my suits, hats, white canes, and my game plan for the week. I am looking forward to connecting with people from different states and creating new connections for future partnerships, workshops, and lines for dissemination of resources. I love getting the inside scoop on the new innovative programming coming out of the states,


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,


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


Where Are They Now? Becka deHaan, Award Winning Recording Artist Who is Blind

Have you ever wondered what happened to the AFB CareerConnect mentors from the Our Stories section? After being gainfully employed and achieving success in the field, what is next for these individuals? Simple, more success! With AFB CareerConnect's new Where Are They Now series, you can catch up with all of your favorite mentors and see what they have been working on. The first mentor AFB CareerConnect checked in on was recording and performing


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.


Bridges From School to Work — Philly Brings You Interview Tips for Teens with Disabilities

During the summer, I had the great opportunity to visit the Marriott Bridges From School to Work location in Philadelphia and meet with the enthusiastic and bright staff there. Bridges from School to Work engages employers, schools, community resources, youth, and their families to help businesses meet their workforce needs while offering young people with disabilities the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed through employment. I believe Bridges does an amazing job preparing youth for employment and creating partnerships with employers. The organization's success rate is top notch because the staff really investigate


Interviewing Tips: WOW the Interviewer by Asking the Right Questions As a Candidate Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

The ball has been in the interviewer’s court up until this critical minute. He’s probed, prodded, and pried his way into finding out what he needs to know about you. His priority has been recognizing the training, experiences, and personality traits that make you a good fit, or lack thereof, for the position. The tables have turned. You’re asked, “Now, do you have any questions for me?” Here’s your chance to let the interviewer know you care where you work. You’re not desperate. You have your options, and you’re contemplating the best fit for you. Asking the right questions can also help the interviewer understand you’re looking for a team to join


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: 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


Finding Volunteer Positions As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Did you read the 8 Work-Related Benefits of Volunteering for Job Seekers Who are Blind or Visually Impaired? Did you find yourself saying, "Shannon" (I'm glad you said Shannon, because we're on a first-name basis), "I like the idea of volunteering, but what kind of volunteer position should I get? How do I get a volunteer position?" I'm glad you asked. This blog post is for you. Read through these helpful tips on finding a volunteer position; it's la carte (just like a pick-and-choose hot lunch in


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


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


Let’s Paws to Reflect: Dog Guide Use in the Employment Process

If you are using screen-reading software, you might have missed a phenomenal pun. Note the canine "P-A-W-S" as a replacement for "P-A-U-S-E." Tell me I'm not the only one smiling! Now on to business… You are on the hunt for a stellar job, or already have a (phenomenal, mediocre, or highly-unfavorable-but-you're-keeping-it) position. Now you are considering a dog guide as an orientation and mobility tool. How well do the two merge: full-time work and a guide dog? I personally have never used a guide dog as a mobility aid; I only have textbook answers. But I'm going to do you a favor and refrain from boring you with


Travel Independently and Interdependently As a Professional Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

I have been using my orientation and mobility skills in typical and more complicated travel situations a lot lately. You really have to get out there and use your skills to keep them up to a high level. I have been a bit too complacent about my skills lately, and I knew my skills needed some sharpening. I have been putting my skills to the test quite a bit over the past month in New York City and New Jersey. Because I've been in the area doing work and such, I've been taking a lot of trains, subways, and generally navigating through different communities in the New York City area and boroughs. I can tell you that I have become more comfortable with


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


A Visit to the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Joseph Kohn Training Center, and a Few Mentors

I did a teen employment workshop recently in New Brunswick, NJ at the Joseph Kohn Training Center, which is the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired's vocational rehabilitation training center. I happened to work there for a little while right after graduate school as an orientation and mobility instructor with other duties as "Joe lobbied for." I say that because I was always asking for new responsibilities or to try out new ideas. I arrived in New Brunswick, New Jersey to do a three-hour teen employment workshop for 21 young people who are blind or visually impaired from around the State of New Jersey. I arrived early in


Look Out Davey Crockett, AFB's Crew Is Heading to San Antonio, TX for the 2014 AER International Conference

The Alamo and the Spurs should watch out, as AFB is all set to take San Antonio by storm. I am packing up and preparing for my presentations at the 2014 AER International Conference in San Antonio, Texas. A number of AFB staff will be rolling out to the conference. I am looking forward to the networking, resources, and visiting with friends. I hope to see Amy Guerette (FSU), Dave Henzy (UTSA), Pat Leader (AER), Mickey Damelio (FSU), Sandra Lewis (FSU), Kitty Greeley (FSU), Annie Gallagher (Vanda), my NJ friends (Pura), the AFB Family, the AER staff, my friends from around the United States, and all of you!


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


How to Beat Work-Related Stress When You Are Blind or Visually Impaired

If you are an adult, think back to the time in childhood when the idea of working to support yourself seemed novel and fun. You could live on your own, come and go as you please, or eat what you like (maybe that was just my dream, as we were a health food household, and I just wanted Cookie Crisps!). Enter the real world. There is such a thing, John Mayer. It's not quite what we had in mind, huh? Sure, we can live on our own, come and go as we please (well, my two preschool daughters make this complicated), and eat what we want (wouldn't you know it, I eat healthy now, too). There is, however, much more to the real world.


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 Happens In Las Vegas, Doesn't Stay in Las Vegas: Heading to 2014 ACB Convention

I was able to go and speak at the 2014 NFB Convention in Orlando, Florida, but I wasn't able to make it back to the convention after some storms cancelled my flights. Lee Huffman (AccessWorld), Paul Schroeder (VP of Programs and Policy), Carl Augusto (CEO), and Mark Richert (Policy Ninja) are preparing to head out for the 2014 ACB Convention in Las Vegas. I will attempt to come back with my money and belongings (I joke!). We are excited to see all of the new products in the exhibit hall and network with our friends from around the United States. I know Lee Huffman will be checking out the


How to Improve Your Job Performance As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

While social skills play an enormous role in maintaining and advancing employment, no extent of strong social skills can retain you if your job performance is sorely inadequate. What job tasks are you paid to perform? Perform them to the best of your ability. This is accomplished by remaining current in your field, providing accurate and quality work, and efficiently completing tasks. Remain current in your field by acquiring up-to-date research and skills. You can attend relevant conferences or workshops; subscribe to pertinent newsletters, magazines, publications, and journals; network


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


Celebrate Independence Day: Accept Invitations to Work-Related Events Without Stress

Are you somebody who dreads getting an invitation to a work party? Almost all jobs are positions held on a team. It is in the best interest of the entire team to be cohesive and unified. Whenever possible, participate in team-building activities and outings to encourage team unity. If invited to a holiday party or recreational get-together, choose to be a participating member. Your superiors will appreciate your effort and you may find your job satisfaction increasing when you take time to get to know your colleagues. Additionally, view these activities as opportunities to enhance your network relationships and demonstrate your loyalty the


Rolling Out Dapper to NFB Employment Day and AFB Breakfast at the 2014 NFB Convention in Orlando!

First of all, happy birthday to Helen Keller! She is an inspiration to us all. I am looking forward to speaking at the NFB Employment Day at the 2014 NFB Convention in Orlando. I feel really lucky to be included in the agenda for the day. I will be speaking a bit about the new developments in AFB CareerConnect, and I will also be addressing some of the recent changes in legislation that impact the employment of persons with disabilities and more specifically people who are blind or visually impaired. There will be many great speakers on employment during the morning at


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


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


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


How to Improve Your Organizational Skills on the Job As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

In order to increase productivity, efficiency, and accuracy, as well as reduce frustration on the job, your work space and time should be well organized. Consider the following tips and suggestions, implementing what would ease and streamline your workflow. Organize Your Workspace Remove unused and unnecessary supplies and tools from your desk or work space. De-cluttering your area can greatly simplify your work-life. Systematically file important electronic and hard-copy documents. This will reduce the amount of time you spend searching for papers, records, and files. It will also keep your desk and virtual desktop neat and accessible, while keeping any personal information out of others' sight. Use an organizer in your desk drawer. Make


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


Knowledge From the Shark Tank: How to Be Unstoppable in the Workforce As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

I just finished reading an article containing some of the smartest advice on advancement in the workforce. Yahoo Finance interviewed Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John, whose names you may recognize from ABC’s Shark Tank. For the record, I love that show. The two highly successful entrepreneurs were asked three questions. Allow me to present the questions and response-summaries to you. Glean on. How did you become untouchable? Barbara and Daymond’s responses reflect the importance of having a passion or drive to compel high-quality job-performance. They discuss what drives them to success. Barbara painfully remembers being labeled stupid while in school. She struggled with reading and writing, and consequently performed poorly in academics. She is driven to


Brandon Solomon, Young Man Who Is Legally Blind, Is Working It Out at a Friendly's Restaurant

During my travels for the AFB Teen Employment Workshop Series, I have the opportunity to meet with a lot of young people and the professionals who work with them. I provided a workshop at the Maryland School for the Blind (MSB) in Baltimore during the month of April. The workshops are just one of the ways that AFB and the CareerConnect web program make a large impact around the United States.


Young National Champion Horseback Rider Who Is Legally Blind Brings It In Competition

AFB CareerConnect loves to share the accomplishments of people who are blind or visually impaired and this story is a wonderfully uncommon and individual success. Rachel Sanchez is a 16-year-old girl who became legally blind after being struck in the head by a bullet at age 5. In November, she won the United Professional Horsemen's Association Exceptional Challenge Cup at the American Royal National Championship in Kansas City. The horse Rachel Sanchez was riding at the time of her win is designated a CH, or champion horse. According to Cindy Howerton, an AFB staff member and expert rider herself, "American Saddlebreds win this designation by repeated wins at large, recognized, well-attended competitions. A win is generally worth one


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


The Key to Improving Relationships on the Job When You Have a Visual Impairment or Blindness

I find myself an observer of social behavior. I am inherently curious to note what makes relationships, personal or work related, flourish. I notice some individuals are eager to feel validated by the esteem of others. They are driven to gain popularity and importance by showcasing their strengths and successes, ad nauseam. Additionally, these individuals often feel the need to continuously solicit sympathy by advertising every frustrating or painful experience. This type of person comes across as self-absorbed. Regardless of whether this person thinks she is better than most or has a poor sense of self, she is acting self absorbed. What is the key to relinquishing self absorption? I believe it is empathy. Vicariously experiencing situations from


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,


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


5 Tips for Creating Individualized Transition and Employment Goals with Youths and Adults

The latest issue of the Journal on Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) is focused on employment and transition. This special issue happens to be edited by a friend and mentor of mine, Dr. Karen Wolffe. It has only been out for a few days, but this issue is already a mainstay in my library, as the topics it covers relate to my everyday work at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). I can't say that often; there are not a ton of volumes of anything that relate directly to employment, transition, visual impairment, and blindness. In honor of this awesome issue, I thought I would bring you some insight from my years of working in the world of