Photo: Members of the 30% and Growing Club hang out at the Albatross Pub in Berkeley: (Left to right) Aly Slaughter, Laura Millar, Josh Miele, Christina Daniels and Event Coordinator Serena Olsen.
Depending on where you get your statistics, 57-70% of working-age blind people are unemployed. But what if we turned that statistic on its head? What if, instead of agonizing over the dauntingly high unemployment rate among blind people, we reframe and consider that at least 30% of blind people are fully employed? Well we’ve done just that. On the third Thursday of each month, the LightHouse celebrates working blind people at our 30% & Growing blind professionals networking meet-ups in San Francisco and the East Bay.
In a thriving metropolis like the Bay Area, every conceivable profession has a meet up group, but where do aspiring-to-be-fully-employed blind people have the same opportunity?
30% & Growing creates that space where being a fully employed blind person is perfectly normal. It’s a space where busy working blind people can take a quick time out to connect with their peers, enjoy some libations, and argue with their friends about current events—just like any other worker bees at the end of a work day.
With 30% & Growing, we intend to grow the ranks of our fully employed working-age blind people by leveraging this tremendous resource for those coming up in the ranks or even thinking about it. Blind job seekers now have this monthly resource available to them allowing them to learn from those that came before them and cull advice about their professions of interest and the unique experience of navigating a career as a blind person.
But we don’t just network – we laugh a lot. We’re serious and social, taking in the buzz of local watering holes like The Beer Hall and Dirty Water in San Francisco or Lost and Found and the Albatross in the East Bay, sampling craft beers, wines or cocktails and sating our palate with light snacks and appetizers. More importantly, 30% and Growing offers connection, dialogue, relationships, and community, and a time and place to go out with friends and colleagues for happy hour, just like any other hard-working tax payer.
For information on upcoming gatherings please contact Serena Olsen, Evening & Weekend Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-694-7316.