Everyday Job Opportunities in Your Community

Youth who are blind or low vision begin to work on their transition individualized education plan (IEP) by their 16th birthday. The transition IEP plan has three distinct goals: postsecondary/education, employment, and independent living. Learn more about transition by checking out Transition from High School to Adult Life for Teenagers Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision. 

This series will focus on employment by unpacking experiences, skills, and resources youth with disabilities need for employment success. Youth and their parents will also share firsthand how everyday youth who are blind, low vision, or deafblind are getting into the world of work.  

The Road to Employment 

The road to a first job and a career can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Families can look to education or adult services agencies (such as vocational rehabilitation) for help with mentoring and employment support. Many families can take advantage of summer employment programs for youth who are blind or low vision that most states have.  

There are many things that parents can do to support their youth’s employment in their own neighborhood. Families can look for volunteer opportunities or paid employment. Both are excellent for gaining employment skills. The easiest action step that families can take is to ensure that their youth has ongoing, meaningful chores inside the home. There is generally a considerable difference between students who have expected chores at home and those who do not. 

Getting Started in the Community 

  • Consider your local resources. Consider food banks, recreation centers, small businesses, etc. Parents can make a list of these resources with their youth. Unpack what each of these options are and the types of jobs available.  
  • Enlist your teacher of students with vision impairments or orientation and mobility instructor to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your child in terms of employment. Leverage your child’s strengths.  
  • Don’t underestimate small and simple jobs! Teens can do a variety of small jobs in their community. Remember that each job experience builds on the next one, and everyone has to start somewhere. Some teens will bristle at certain jobs, but doing a variety of jobs helps them unearth talents they didn’t know they had.  

According to Life pathways or lonely dead-ends? The transition from secondary school to post-school life for adolescents with vision impairment, for young people who are blind or low vision to participate and compete in an ever-evolving workforce, they need to gain the skills they will need to utilize independently in their post-school lives. Let’s dive into the skills young people will need for employment.