Who says that Braille won’t be useful in a job search? Ria Baylen’s smile is as contagious as is her enthusiasm for her chosen field. Ria is deaf and low vision. With a strong desire to “help and teach people” professionally, she got an A.S. degree in Human Services at Napa Valley College. After studying braille, adaptive technology and mobility training to prepare her in case her vision decreased, and to “learn what it takes to be independent”, she started interning and contracting at various blindness agencies, including the LightHouse, transcribing and teaching braille and adaptive technology.
After gathering work experience over several years, Ria knew she wanted to find a steady, permanent job with more hours, but she needed some help figuring out how to make better headway in a difficult job market. So she got the okay from her DOR counselor Suzanne Tierney to participate in the LightHouse Employment Immersion program.
With the help of the program, Ria learned how to craft a solid resume, tailor it to prospective employers and use the Internet to make fruitful connections. She also made great strides in conquering her tendency to freeze up during interviews because she felt unprepared for the questions and began to use the skills learned in the program to communicate more clearly and with purpose.
She particularly appreciated the opportunity to “listen to blind role models and guest speakers talk about their experiences as they move up the ladder and get where they are now. During the class I learned I have the ability, the dedication and patience to teach and help others achieve their goals.” And that’s where Ria’s braille skills made a difference.
We congratulate Ria, who accepted a full-time position last month with the San Francisco Unified School District as a Braillist. She now works with teachers, preparing materials for blind students in braille and other formats. “It’s great – I’m doing what I love and I’m able to afford living on my own!”
There’s Still Time to Enroll
Are you ready to snag that great job and earn enough to have a home of your own? Or are you looking for work for the first time? The next Employment Immersion class begins on January 7, and there’s still time to enroll. It’s a small investment of time – just eight weeks will get you up-to-speed with the latest job-search methods, plus one-on-one counseling and interview practice in a warm, encouraging environment. For more information, call Kate Williams at 415-694-7324 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.