Job Resources for Blind and Low Vision Graduates

Two people in suits shake hands across a desk

Here we are in graduation season. If you are a person with a visual impairment celebrating this time of year, congratulations. 

Many of you are transitioning from high school or college to work this summer. Those who have not landed a job yet should hang in there. Be sure to take advantage of the resources within the APH ConnectCenter

A Look at My First Career  

I have a personal story to share about my first career endeavor. It is a cautionary tale. Learn from my experience and plan accordingly. 

My first job was with a Fortune 500 company right out of college. I was determined to become a stock broker. This first job put my career on the track I desired. 

Only five years or so had passed since my diagnosis with retinitis pigmentosa. I was experiencing a decrease in my visual field. But my acuity was still good, or so I thought! Using a long white cane or a dog guide had not yet entered my mind. 

The perceptions of others added to the stumbling block for me. My manager and my coworkers found it hard to believe I had any vision issues. Generally speaking, without the white cane or the dog guide, I did not fit the traditional profile of a person who is blind or low vision.  

My Journey with Low Vision  

Two more internal factors were at work. I struggled to make peace with retinitis pigmentosa. I was unwilling to swallow my pride and discuss my disability and my needs. 

My first week of work began with high expectations. I knew things would get tough once I began using the company’s computer system. By the end of the week, it became clear that I would have difficulty seeing some of the letters and numbers on the computer screen. Although I completed the training class, it was an ominous beginning. 

Employment Disaster 

The stage had already been set for an employment disaster. What followed was an unfortunate series of miscommunications and misunderstandings. No one, not me, my manager, or the human resources department, could figure out how to improve the situation. 

Factors Impacting my Situation 

Looking back on my situation in hindsight, I see that the real culprits were my low vision and the company’s electronic trading system. Nothing could forestall the vision loss. Sadly, assistive technology was incompatible with the computer trading system at the time. 

Fortunately, I learned the duties and responsibilities well enough to be reassigned as a trainer. But, less than a year after starting my career, I resigned from the position. 

Forging Ahead 

I was heartbroken but picked myself up and continued searching for work. In less than two weeks, I accepted a position with a different company in a related field. This time, I worked harder to communicate my needs as someone with low vision.  

Navigating the Workforce 

The above situation happened over 20 years ago. Assistive technology has improved. Employers and hiring managers are making progress toward understanding the abilities and contributions made by people who are blind or have low vision.  

The APH ConnectCenter through CareerConnect has brought forth invaluable resources for career-curious people who are blind and have low vision.  

In hindsight, a bountiful resource, such as CareerConnect, could have prepared me for my first career endeavor all those years ago. 

You have worked hard to graduate from high school, trade school, or college. You have overcome numerous challenges to achieve your educational goals. Now, take the time to use CareerConnect’s resources. Educate yourself about career matters specifically targeted at helping you as a person who is blind or has low vision.  

Resources for Students Transitioning from School to Work 

In addition to utilizing vocational rehabilitation, consider the following resources to prepare for your transition to work.  

Job Seeker’s Toolkit 

APH ConnectCenter and NSITE have partnered to create a free, accessible online Job Seeker’s Toolkit specifically designed for individuals who are blind or have low vision. 

This comprehensive resource provides five self-paced courses covering: 

  • Self-Awareness: Helps individuals explore their strengths and career aspirations 
  • Career Exploration: Offers targeted tools and resources to discover fulfilling career paths 
  • Employment Process: Provides clear guidance on navigating applications, interviews, and beyond 
  • The Interview: Equips students and clients with effective interview strategies 
  • Maintaining Employment: Offers valuable techniques for success in the workplace 

Get equipped to land your dream career using the Job Seeker’s Toolkit

Additional Resources