Editor’s note: The APH CareerConnect and NSITE have joined forces to update The Job Seeker’s Toolkit.
It’s long been said there’s strength in numbers. That’s why APH CareerConnect and NSITE have come together to help improve one number in particular: employment rates among people who are blind or low vision.
It’s no secret that employment rates for people with vision loss are far lower than they should be, but sometimes the skills and contacts needed to break into a great career are difficult to locate. Vocational rehabilitation organizations have a valuable role, but job seekers can utilize additional training and a resource for finding the kinds of well-paying jobs that make the most of their talents.
A central aspect of this collaboration is a job board called NSITE Connect, which is hosted by NSITE, an independent nonprofit that’s an extension of National Industries for the Blind. The job board posts job openings specifically for people who are blind or low vision.
“There are a lot of disability job boards out there, but as far as I can tell from my research NSITE Connect is the only one specifically focused on individuals who are blind,” says Billy Parker, Director, Strategic Partnerships for NSITE.
Combining resources to connect employers with talented candidates
According to Billy, the resources and years of experience provided by APH and APHCareerConnect, combined with NSITE Connect’s innovative job board, has the power to impact the employment numbers in the community.
“Our site will be shared with APH CareerConnect because we can leverage each of our benefits,” he explains. “Employers are looking for a way to hire individuals – and we’re working with private-sector companies, businesses, the federal government, and more to connect individuals with those opportunities.”
In fact, NSITE Connect has established agreements with top private-sector businesses to hire talented employees who are blind or low vision. Resources will also be available to help job seekers post their resumes, improve their interview skills, and present themselves at their best.
Billy says APH CareerConnect and NSITE Connect are taking a team approach within the community. “We’re really trying to collaborate and leverage our strengths to make an impact,” he explains. “This job board will be a great opportunity for individuals to get their resumes listed. That’s one big aspect of this.”
More than a job board
Although Billy says the vocational rehabilitation community and APH have a great relationship that can facilitate employment searches, the training NSITE offers is another important element of collaboration. NSITE’s innovative training programs prepare individuals who are blind or low vision for professional jobs and creates opportunities for young adults assisted by APH, giving them a path to a career that matches their skills.
For example, NSITE has a program with CISCO that trains people so they can earn their certifications and be connected with information technology (IT) positions across the country. In addition, NSITE has a program that trains people to be recruiters.
“By combining NSITE’s and APH’s networks, we can reach a lot more people who need our training,” Billy says. “At NSITE, we’re focused on innovation, competitive wages, and upward mobility – and this gives us a lot more flexibility.”
NSITE has already established partnerships with vocational rehabilitation organizations nationwide, while APH is involved with the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), among others. But rather than approaching groups separately, NSITE and APH CareerConnect can reach out to them as a team.
“By working together, this is going to take us to the next level,” Billy says. “By sharing our resources with APH and incorporating theirs into ours, we’re going to build something that’s really going to connect more employers with talented individuals who are blind or visually impaired.”
Watch for changes coming to APH CareerConnect moving forward, as we integrate NSITE Connect’s resources into ours.