Fifty two year-old Keith Kolb grew up in a small town in Texas and moved to San Francisco in 1993, where he promptly fell in love with the city. He has worked for internet companies throughout most of his career, in tech support, customer service and in other capacities.
Though blind in his left eye all his life, the vision in his right eye was good throughout his school and working years, until six years ago, when it changed dramatically. After having a cataract removed from his right eye his retina irreparably detached and Keith lost most of his usable vision.
When he returned to work he struggled to perform his job, then took several years off to regroup. When he returned to the Bay Area he connected with the Department of Rehabilitation. His counselor, John Grote, referred Keith to the LightHouse. With renewed hope, he had a comprehensive evaluation by a LightHouse Social Worker, participated in our Living with Vision Loss and braille classes, and, feeling like he was ready to enter the workforce again, enrolled in the Employment Immersion program, taught by Program Leader Kate Williams.
Keith talks enthusiastically about the Program, telling us, “The class was so supportive – it was helpful to meet people of all different backgrounds and my self-esteem got a big boost. And Kate, well, everyone who knows Kate has glowing things to say about her. She was kind but from the very beginning she made it clear that it was up to us, that we needed to be the ones to take the steps she laid out. She really encouraged me to persevere.”
Kate said, “Keith is a highly consistent, disciplined and principled person, from the professional way he dresses, to the way considerate way he interacted with his classmates. Keith truly earned the respect of everyone in his class.”
With the LightHouse’s help, Keith tuned-up his networking skills and through this process found that his former employer knew the hiring manager at Acteva, an online event and payment management platform used by universities, government entities and non-profits. He was hired as a Customer Support Representative at Acteva in late April, 2013. “I would recommend the Employment Immersion Program to anyone. If you put into the process what you expect to get out of it, you will succeed. Just make sure you get on Kate’s good side,” Keith chuckled.
We are very proud of Keith’s success and our contribution to it. Kate Williams said, “When we sent out the email to the class saying he was hired by Acteva, I heard a virtual collective cheer from everyone who had watched him work so hard.”
Looking for work for the first time? Is it time for you to re-enter the job market? Our next Employment Immersion session runs from Tuesday, August 6 through Thursday, September 26 and will take place at the LightHouse’s office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, call Kate Williams at 415-694-7324 or email her at email@example.com.