Vision rehabilitation services are available to adults who are blind or low vision and who are learning to live and work with greater independence; vocational rehabilitation services are a selection of vision rehabilitation services directed toward successful employment. Vocational rehabilitation provides services to employers as well as job seekers and employees.
The main provider of rehabilitation services is each state’s vocational rehabilitation agency, and there is generally a network of local offices to contact for assistance.
In addition to state-sponsored services, there are hundreds of private, nonprofit agencies for blind people in the United States. Services vary from agency to agency; you can search for specific services using APH’s Directory of Services.
State vocational rehabilitation agencies are typically networked with private agencies and are supported with tax dollars. Their primary goal is to help people with disabilities prepare for and become gainfully employed by providing services to employers and employees.
Benefits to Employers
Employers can receive:
- Consultation: Employers can receive consultation regarding ADA, tax incentives, job accommodations, and retaining employees experiencing vision loss.
- Employment Support: Employers can receive guidance and support on job analysis, awareness training, short- and long-term job coaching, follow-up services, the initial on-site orientation of newly hired employees who are blind or low vision, and special recruitment services when seeking to expand their pool of diverse employees.
- Outreach Assistance: Employers can receive job matching and referral of qualified local candidates through
job fairs, informational workshops, and seminars, in addition to local and national job postings.
- Information Repository: Employers can receive information regarding vendors and technicians, local and national labor market data, unemployment insurance, and financial aid for providing accommodations.
Benefit to Applicants
Vocational rehabilitation counselors, job placement specialists, and assistive technology trainers help eligible individuals become viable job candidates. Individuals can receive:
- Assessment to determine skills and personal goals, services to close skill gaps, technology and on-the-job training.
- Job placement and other support in their employment efforts.
- Reader and braille services when necessary for those who are blind or low vision.
- Job coaching: observation of a job and training of an employee who needs additional support in learning the job or specific job tasks