Unlocking Opportunities: Navigating the Workforce for People with Low Vision

 In an increasingly competitive job market, finding employment can be a daunting challenge for anyone. But for individuals with low vision or blindness, finding work can seem close to impossible. Some of the hurdles they face stem from a lack of awareness, misconceptions, and inadequate support systems. Here at Ensight Skills Center we aim to educate and train people on how to continue to live their lives fully and to obtain long-term employment. Together we can create a more inclusive and accessible workforce for everyone.

A black table with gray chairs and a green “Start” sign on the table

According to the American Community Survey (ACS) “over half of working-age people who are blind or visually impaired are not in the labor market.” Most of the individuals not working feel like there are not any options for them due to their vision impairment. Their lack of transportation, accessibility or knowledge of online applications and a support system work as barriers to gainful employment.

A lady with sunglasses holding a cane in a white striped shirt 

Important Factors for Finding and Keeping a Job

  • Transportation

Although many jobs offer ways to work from home some require being in the workplace for all or some of the time. Ensight’s comprehensive rehabilitation program would not be complete without addressing mobility and safety.  Our staff includes three certified Orientation and Mobility instructors who teach individuals how to use the white cane for travel. They work with you on walking, accessing and using transportation, and travel safety. We also provide training in using the white cane with guide dogs.

A person with a hoodie and jeans using a cane to go up concrete steps

  • Support System

Your family, advisors, and peers play a pivotal role in supporting your journey towards sustainable employment and achieving independence. At Ensight we understand that coping with vision loss is difficult, and that support is crucial in the process of adapting physically, emotionally, and socially. Our occupational therapists will discuss various aspects of adapting, such as how to communicate with family members, finding available support and resources, and advocating for oneself.

  • Access to Assistive Technology

Access to and proficiency in using technology significantly enhance your employability. Assistive technology low vision devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision in performing everyday tasks. From low-tech devices such as lamps, signature cards, and large print playing cards; to higher tech options such as magnifiers, talking watches, and closed circuit televisions (often called readers) these items can make adjustment to vision loss easier and accomplish tasks more efficiently.

A woman sitting at a computer with technology that zooms in so she can see the details

  • Mentoring

Evidence suggests that mentoring programs can be a valuable resource for students with blindness or low vision. It can help them overcome obstacles and achieve successful employment outcomes. Ensight is proud to provide counseling and group support.  Onsite and remote counseling is offered with leadership from a trained psychotherapist. Group support is available in the following formats:

  • Online support group that meets twice monthly
  • Adaptive painting classes
  • Educational presentations on various assistive devices
  • Fall prevention class

Alt Text: An image about Ensight Skills Center with purple, yellow and green.

Finding and Training for Employment Resources 

In conclusion, the journey to finding and training for employment resources can be a transformative experience, and these organizations have proven to be invaluable allies in this pursuit:

Ensight Skills Center Facilitated Learning Program

World Services for the Blind

Department of Workforce Development

American Foundation for the Blind

These organizations can help provide essential support and guidance every step of the way.

To stay connected and up-to-date with the latest opportunities and success stories, we encourage you to follow Ensight on all of our social media platforms. Visit Ensight Skill Center’s Homepage for a comprehensive overview of our programs, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube to gain access to valuable resources, inspiring stories, and updates on all of our upcoming events.