HERE’S something many may consider eye-opening news: A person who is blind can perform almost any job as well as a sighted person. Today, people who are blind seamlessly use computers, operate machinery and serve in management roles—but many misconceptions still exist about what they are capable of in the workplace.
There are roughly 6.3 million Americans with significant vision loss who have a high school degree or GED and 4.8 million with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
What many employers don’t realize is that for certain jobs, only a modest investment in technology is needed to accommodate an employee who is blind, and a great many jobs require no investment at all.
For example, there are computer programs that enlarge text on the screen and others that digitally read text into headphones, enabling people who are blind to do any job that requires a computer. Many smartphones and computers now include assistive technology as a standard feature at no additional cost, so people who are blind can operate even more independently in their professional and personal lives. With the snap of a picture, there’s an app that will read printed text or tell you what is in a photo. With only slight modifications, manufacturing processes and machining can now be managed by a person who is blind.
Nevertheless, a survey commissioned by National Industries for the Blind (NIB) found that most people responsible for hiring believe there are few jobs a person who is blind can perform.
Said Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of NIB, “One of the many services we offer customers is contact center management, and often, folks are surprised to learn their customer service representative is a person who is blind.”
NIB and its nationwide network of nonprofit agencies provide employment opportunities and career training for thousands of people who are blind, proving that when it comes to doing productive and creative work that has a positive impact on the bottom line, being blind is not a limitation.
Find out more at www.nib.org. North American Precis Syndicate