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National AccessAbility Week: Employers Must Bust This Myth!

By Linda Bartram


Myth # 4: People who are blind can't work.


Reality: With training and opportunity, people who are blind can indeed work. Along with career qualifications, training in life and blindness skills prepare persons who are blind and partially sighted for the workforce. So why is there still an unemployment rate of 75% for this demographic? The missing element is unfortunately opportunity. All too often, employers pass over qualified blind job seekers once their vision impairment is made known. It may be hard for many employers to conceive how we could possibly do something they do using vision, without sight. When employers have doubts about how we will accomplish a certain aspect of the job, they need to know that chances are we have already given careful thought to it and come up with solutions. So have an open mind and ask us to explain. Don’t limit our opportunities because of your limited knowledge!


With adaptive technology such as screen-reading and magnifying software, Braille displays and various other tools, people with vision loss can and do work as:

  • Teachers, college professors and guidance counselors

  • Social workers and psychologists

  • Doctors, nurses, and occupational and physical therapists

  • Masseuses and chiropractors

  • Rehabilitation teachers and counselors

  • Customer service representatives

  • Restaurant and store workers

  • Factory workers

  • Freelance writers, journalists, and TV and radio broadcasters

  • DJs and musicians

  • Lawyers, judges and politicians

  • Executive directors and managers

  • Coaches and athletes

  • Authors and motivational speakers

  • Chefs

  • Architects

  • Researchers, engineers and scientists

  • Artists and photographers


To name just a few.


And there are proven advantages to hiring people with disabilities:

  1. People with disabilities are reliable employees and have an overall higher job retention rate.

  2. Employees with disabilities are less likely to get into work related accidents. 

  3. Businesses that hire people with disabilities may be eligible for financial incentives.

  4. Workers with disabilities will increase diversity in the workplace.

 

For more information and resources check out the Government of Canada's Job Bank page on Hiring Persons with Disabilities.


ALT IMAGE TEXT: Linda and other members of the Victoria Accessibility Advisory Committee assessing the accessibility of the Crystal Pool facility in Victoria, BC. There are two white cane and two wheelchair users, along with Victoria EDI office staff, sporting red hoodies which say “National AccessAbility Awareness Week, Nothing About Us Without Us, City of Victoria Accessibility Advisory Committee." Everyone pictured here with visible and invisible disabilities is working in some capacity.

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