11/26/2019

Over the past several months, AFB Policy and Research Advisor Sarah Malaier and I have researched and analyzed a wide variety of nationally focused employment programs for people with vision loss. The purpose of this project was to understand what types of programs are available to blind and low vision people who are looking to find employment, retain employment, and advance in their chosen career fields.

Just as importantly, if not more so, we wanted to identify what services and resources are not available, but need to be. We hope to use this information to guide AFB’s own work on employment policy and programs. We also hope that making this information available to other blindness and disability organizations will help them recognize what work is currently not being done, so that they can take this into account when developing their own employment programs. When organizations and agencies are developing employment programs, it is imperative to understand these factors so as not to replicate work that is already being done and to develop programs to meet needs that aren’t currently being met.

Drawing on our own experience and interactions, we identified governmental and nonprofit organizations that are widely known to offer employment programs. We categorized the programs into 12 categories and identified gaps in each category:

  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • Support Groups
  • Technology
  • Accommodations
  • Individual Resources
  • Employer Resources
  • Family Resources
  • Best Practices
  • Awareness
  • STEM Focus
  • Job Matching

Learn more about the gaps we identified, and the 8 themes that emerged that cut across all or most employment program categories.

AFB is committed to using the information we have gleaned from this project to ensure that our organization’s public policy, research, and programs reduce or eliminate the significant gaps in services we have identified. We hope that other organizations will join us in developing new and better programs to fill these gaps.

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