At Junior Blind of America’s Employment Fair: Aira Focuses on Jobs for Blind People

Michael Dabney
Dec 6, 2016 · Unlisted

Finding stable, viable employment remains a serious problem in the blind and visually impaired community (where unemployment rates are estimated to be as high as 70 percent nationally), leading Aira to explore ways to help alleviate the situation through its product and services, and collaboration with various organizations serving the blind.

“This is a key reason why Aira participated in the Junior Blind of America’s Employment Fair in Los Angeles recently where employers from around the region gathered to meet with blind and visually impaired job seekers to conduct interviews and share employment information,” says Mac Villarreal, Aira Director of User Engagement. At the day-long event, Aira — through its 20 on-site product demonstrations with blind job seekers, plus interaction with employers — proved effective in showcasing how its assistive technology not only enhances hiring opportunities for the blind, but also benefits employers.

Sheila, an Aira Explorer and job applicant at the Employment Fair, reads a handwritten note through assistance from her Aira agent for her interview with See’s Candies.

“Employers at the event,” says Mac, “were surprised to learn how blind individuals can use Aira and other assistive technology to gain greater access to information that helps them perform more effectively in the workplace — so employers are understanding that in many cases, being visually impaired does not limit these individuals’ independence on the job.” Aira’s presence at the Junior Blind Employment Fair coincides with a key focus of Aira to educate employers on the importance of hiring those with vision loss.

Many blind people possess competitive job skills and are represented in a variety of employment fields — including customer service, factory work, teaching, university research, the legal profession, computer engineering, culinary arts, office management, and finance. But too many employers still remain reluctant to hire blind employees, being concerned that these individuals, because of their vision loss, would not be capable of performing and interacting adequately on the job. “But it has been shown that when given the opportunity for hiring,” says Mac, “blind employees often prove invaluable, which in turn adds dramatically to their sense of self-pride, independence, accomplishment and fulfillment.”

Watch this video from the Junior Blind Employment Fair to discover how Sheila, a blind job applicant and new Aira Explorer, gained an important competitive edge in her employment interview with See’s Candies via Aira assistive technology! https://vimeo.com/189379691/7282096a57

The Foundation for the Junior Blind of America symbol: Helping the blind, visually impaired and multi-disabled achieve their highest potential.
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