[Nfbmo] article on employment of the blind

Chris cktisdal at charter.net
Mon May 20 05:26:59 UTC 2013

Hey Sunshine,

Thank you for the wonderful article.  Asame that it took the author loosing 
his sight to change his prespection on the disable being employable.



From: "Julie McGinnity" <kaybaycar at gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2013 6:27 PM
To: "NFB of Missouri Mailing List" <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
Subject: [Nfbmo] article on employment of the blind

> Hi everyone,
> I read this article today and thought it would be of interest,
> especially to the employment research committee.  The link to the
> article and text of the article can be found below:  Enjoy!
> * * *
> Hiring blind: the Misconceptions facing America's visually impaired 
> workforce
> http://www.hr.com/en/app/blog/2013/05/hiring-blind-the-misconceptions-facing-america%E2%80%99s-v_hgs2d55a.html#.UZkKB0yJ4ld.twitter
> As a recruiting manager staffing for clients such as Google and Apple,
> I was concerned about three things: experience, unemployment gaps, and
> the probability of the person becoming a long-term employee.
> I interviewed few disabled candidates and rarely considered their job
> prospects. As a recruiter, I rarely debated if and how they would be
> able to perform the duties of a position. I soon found a new
> perspective  one that changed the way I viewed both the role of the
> recruiter and the place of people with disabilities in the job market.
> A Shift in Thinking
> I was attacked more than six years  a beating that caused severe
> retinal trauma, which left me blind. A year after the attack, I found
> myself at Californias Orientation Center for the Blind, learning new
> ways to complete necessary daily tasks. Most significantly, I learned
> that while I had helped place hundreds of people into positions at top
> companies, my opportunities and chances of finding a job were slim.
> Members of the blind community warned me that I would need a lot of
> patience when I began my job search. I now belonged to a group of
> people erroneously viewed by recruiters as unskilled, unproductive,
> and more difficult. I didnt need my guide dog, Madge, to sniff out
> the irony of my new situation.
> According to University of Illinois at Chicago professor and
> disabilities studies scholar Dr. Lennard Davis, these stereotypes
> exist in part because peoples misconceptions of the blind are split
> between thinking theyre completely helpless or brimming with
> superpowers. These misconceptions carry over into the business world
> and can seriously confuse potential employers.
> The Misconceptions of Managers
> According to a recent study done by the nonprofit National Industries
> for the Blind (NIB), out of 3.5 million blind Americans of working
> age, a walloping 70 percent are not employed. And of the 30 percent
> working, the majority work for blind organizations.
> One major reason blind people struggle to find employment is that
> public misconceptions of the blind affect hiring managers perceptions
> of potential candidates who are visually impaired. Id like to break
> down a few of these  put out by the NIB study  and discuss why these
> misconceptions are fallacies.
> Among hiring managers, most respondents (54 percent) felt there were
> few jobs at their company that blind employees could perform, and 45
> percent said accommodating such workers would require considerable
> expense.
> The reality is that a blind person can do any job that involves a
> computer, and there are a slew of adaptive tech toys that make most
> jobs accessible, such as a portable scanner to read printed material.
> As for the purported expense, according to The American Foundation for
> the Blind, most accommodations cost less than $1,000, a negligible
> amount for a serious business.
> Forty-two percent of hiring managers believe blind employees need
> someone to assist them on the job; 34 percent said blind workers are
> more likely to have work-related accidents.
> This fear can be attributed to some of our common idioms, e.g., Its
> like the blind leading the blind. This phrase implies poor navigation
> skills, when the reality is that blind people often have superb
> orientation skills due to hours of training by mobility experts. Far
> from being clumsy, the visually impaired have an attention to detail
> that most sighted people lack. Insurance statistics back this up:
> Blind people actually have better safety records than their sighted
> colleagues.
> Nineteen percent of hiring managers believe blind employees have a
> higher absentee rate.
> In reality, blind people dont actually miss more time from work. A
> DuPont study, completed during a 25-year span, found that disabled
> people, in general, have better attendance than 90 percent of their
> non-disabled colleagues.
> The Realities of 2013
> The disabled did not get their rights during the Civil Rights movement
> and had to wait until the 90s for the Americans with Disabilities Act
> to pass. Even now, many people assume the blind are unemployable. As a
> former recruiter, I realize there are different requirements and
> considerations that need to be addressed when hiring a visually
> impaired individual, but without changing our perspective on the
> capabilities of the blind, we can never end the discrimination that
> still takes place.
> Some companies such as Google, Apple, and Yahoo! routinely hire
> visually impaired employees. The U.S. government  especially the CIA,
> the Department of Rehabilitation, and the Social Security Agency 
> also hires many visually impaired people.
> Jobs capitalizing on the unique skills the blind develop are also
> being created. Givaudan, a company in the fragrance and flavors
> business, has developed a special internship program designed to give
> the blind work experience. Participants evaluate fragrances, detecting
> subtle differences that aid the creative team.
> It will take some time to abolish blind stereotypes. However, both the
> blind and sighted people can contribute to the shift.
> How Managers Can Improve Inclusivity
> Prejudices toward the blind workforce are not beyond repair. In
> addition to a lead by example role that managers can take, they can
> also become more inclusive by reaching out to groups that cater to the
> blind to recruit for potential new hires.
> Encourage your human resources department to diversify its pipeline of
> candidates by recruiting from employment programs at organizations
> such as LightHouse in San Francisco and The Lions Center for the
> Blind. Hiring a blind person for an internship not only gives him job
> experience but also will encourage others to be more open to
> considering a person who is blind for a position in the future.
> If a company is serious about inclusivity, then it is also very
> important that its website and job application portal be ADA
> compliant. Companies can also demonstrate a commitment to diversity by
> portraying blind people in their recruitment advertising.
> How the Blind Can Increase Their Chances of Hire
> The reality is that we live in a sighted world, and stereotypes
> pervade the workplace. For people without sight, bring your adaptive
> equipment along to interviews to demonstrate how you would complete
> required tasks to give the hiring manager the insight he needs to make
> a decision.
> Network in the blind community and get to know people in your line of
> work. If you know of a person who is blind and doing the job similar
> to the one you are applying for, get advice from him and obtain a
> reference if you can. Telling a hiring manager about another blind
> person in a similar role can help you land the job. Finally, do not
> hesitate to report a company if you believe you were discriminated
> against.
> How Sighted People Can Help
> If you work for a company that does not feature people with
> disabilities on its employment page, let your employer know he is not
> being inclusive. You can also ask your employer, school, and friends
> what they are doing to acknowledge disability awareness month in
> October.
> Education helps young people crush outdated beliefs at an early age.
> In California, the FAIR Education Act, which passed in 2011, requires
> public schools to include disability education. If you are a parent
> outside of California, demand your school district to add disability
> studies to its curriculum.
> Finally, perform a quick Google search any time a disabilities
> stereotype crosses your mind. Educating yourself on the truth about
> disabilities is the best way to eliminate outdated stereotypes.
> It will take time to change the collective consciousness of society
> and root out wrongful discrimination against people with disabilities.
> However, people can help by educating themselves about issues facing
> blind people today, discouraging outdated stereotypes, and working to
> encourage inclusivity in their workplaces.
> Belo Cipriani is a freelance writer, speaker, and author of Blind: A
> Memoir. Belo was the keynote speaker for the 2011 Americans with
> Disabilities Act celebration in San Francisco and was a guest lecturer
> at both Yale University and the University of San Francisco. Amber
> Clovers, his first work of fiction, will be published in 2013. He
> welcomes anyone to reach out to him at belocipriani.com or on Twitter
> @Beloism and Google+.
> -- 
> Julie McG
> National Association of Guide dog Users board member,  National
> Federation of the Blind performing arts division secretary,
> Missouri Association of Guide dog Users President,
> and Guiding Eyes for the Blind graduate 2008
> "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that
> everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal
> life."
> John 3:16
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