Society for the Blind in Sacramento and Blind Institute of Technology ™ (BIT) in Colorado are joining forces to create a new pathway for employment of people living with blindness or visual impairment. Both organizations are driven by the ultimate goal of full independence for people who are blind and visually impaired (BVI), which makes this a natural pairing.
BIT’s sole focus is employing BVI professionals in corporate America, placing them in positions on par with their education and skill level, through networking, education and workforce development. Society for the Blind is taking on the challenge of employment with its primary focus placed on providing people who are blind or visually impaired with the tools they need to attain employment and independence. The two forward-thinking organizations will pull their resources together to achieve the goal of significantly decreasing not only unemployment, but the underemployment epidemic that plagues professionals who are blind or visually impaired.
“For far too long, blindness organizations across the country have approached the unemployment epidemic amongst the blind and visually impaired in a siloed fashion, which has done nothing as evidenced by the same unemployment rate as 30 years ago when the ADA was passed. It is time to end the epidemic and put BVI professionals where they belong, in mainstream corporate America. I am super excited to be collaborating with a progressive leader like Society for the Blind and look forward to the impact we will make together,” said Mike Hess, BIT executive director.
“It is so important for blindness organizations like Society for the Blind to be creative and really make a difference in the employment opportunities for people living with low vision and blindness. I believe that collaborations allow us all to do more and be more effective, and that is why I am thrilled to be partnering with BIT. Working together, I believe we can truly move the needle on the rate of employment in a positive direction,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind.
By leveraging relationships built with its corporate partners, emphasizing workforce development and accessible technology, BIT strives to put its talented, corporate-ready professionals in the best possible position for success. BIT works with disability inclusive Fortune 500 industry giants across the country, placing professionals in all aspects of business, including IT, finance and operations, earning a median salary of $70,000 a year. For those candidates who have the technical aptitude but lack relevant certifications, the BIT Academy offers opportunities to achieve the training and certifications that help them to be competitive, such as its Salesforce Administration Certification Prep course. BIT is an authorized Salesforce training provider for people with disabilities.
Society for the Blind is the Sacramento region’s only comprehensive training and rehabilitation center serving people who are blind or have visual impairments. Serving 27 counties in northern California, Society for the Blind serves nearly 6,000 people impacted by vision loss or blindness each year through its Core Blindness Skills programs, a Low Vision Clinic and other supportive services and programs. In 2018, Society for the Blind established the CareersPLUS program in an effort to address the high unemployment rates among people with vision loss. In the past three years, more than 65 people have found employment and/or pursued college and vocational training through the CareersPLUS program. Society for the Blind is an authorized provider of employment services for the State of California Department of Rehabilitation.