LightHouse Employment Immersion student group outside the Federal building in San Francisco

LightHouse National Employment Immersion Program

Optimizing Employment Opportunities

The Facts

  • 54.9% of the U.S. population that is blind or has low vision aged 18 – 64 are not in any form of employment.
  • The estimated population of people who have low vision or who are blind in the United States aged between 18 and 64 is 3,846,600. Find U.S. disability statistics.
  • This is a shocking statistic when compared with the current unemployment rate of the general population in the United States which, at the time of writing, is 10.2%. US Bureau of Labor stats.

And yet this group is an educated one: with almost a third obtaining an associate degree or higher. U.S. disability statistics.
One would understandably assume that with the phenomenal growth in Accessible technology, blind job seekers would be penetrating
the competitive job market at a rapid pace.  And yet the unemployment rate remains stubbornly stagnant.

Factors

  • Employers’ expectations of people who are blind or have low vision are low
  • Employers are not educated in how people who are blind or have low vision skillfully use technology to perform
  • Employers are concerned about insurance liability and perceived higher risk of injury at work
  • Employees who lose their vision while in employment are thought to be expensive to retrain
  • Visually impaired people have limited access to early employment paths like part-time after-school work to gain experience and credibility
  • Through a lack of opportunity, people who are blind or have low vision often have low self-esteem

A Different Approach

Although there are basic components necessary for preparing for a job search, and we cover them in-depth – See Curriculum Framework, we focus on building the job seeker’s confidence and instilling a sense of pride in their blindness. We know blindness has many faces, most employers don’t, and people unfamiliar with blindness do not have the knowledge or awareness to discern those differences. Disclosing their blindness or low vision to a potential employer can be a daunting tightrope to walk for this group. We train our students in the most effective techniques to overcome all of these challenges and land their dream job.

We Get It!

  • We consistently place 43% of our graduates.
  • 99% of our graduates stated their confidence in conducting a job search has improved vastly.
  • We continue working with our graduates until they reach their job goals. See Job Development/Jobs Group.
  • Three-quarters of our Employment Team are blind or visually impaired.
  • Our Employment Specialists have a combined 60 years of experience in employment and recruitment

What you should do

This is the time to support your consumers on their path to employment. There are many developing job markets for example:

  • Remote customer service and client services in all sectors
  • Government agencies
  • Nonprofit support services
  • Accessible technologies in all industries.
  • Home-based telework.

We have more results and better experience to penetrate those markets by upskilling our consumers and instilling confidence in our community. See student success stories.

Video: Blind at Work: Meet the Visually Impaired Warehouse Manager at Braille Skateboarding

What’s in the Program?

Here’s what we expect students to achieve at the end of each week:

  • Week 1: Basics Boot Camp: know and understand their personal ‘brand’ and authentically make their ‘elevator pitch’
  • Week 2: build and beautifully format a job-tailored cover letter and resume
  • Week 3: present their relevant skills, experience and job suitability in interviews with confidence
  • Week 4: possess the tools, techniques and support to maximize their job search.

It does not end there! 

Weeks 5-8: we provide job-specific targeted activities and support such as vetting applications, rehearsing interviews and providing advice on salary negotiation.

Students are automatically given a three-month membership to “The Group”, a job seeker support group that meets weekly to network, problem-solve and learn from one another. Read more about the group here.

For all this groundbreaking and bespoke content, we know you will find our all-inclusive fee extremely competitive.

WHEN: Sessions begin the first Monday of every month

WHERE:  VIRTUALLY – with Zoom Conferencing

HOW: Contact Kate Williams, Director of Employment Services on 415.309.0905 or email kwilliams@lighthouse-sf.org. To discuss the requirements of your consumer.

We look forward to working with you to give your consumers the best opportunity to take the next steps toward their ideal career.