Project 2: An Employment Mentoring Project for College Students who are Blind

Principal Investigator: Jamie O'Mally, jamie.omally@colled.msstate.edu

We know that young adults who are blind often have difficulty finding employment. We are conducting a research project to see if pairing students who are legally blind (or totally blind) with successful mentors in their career fields who are also blind will help. We will recruit students who are graduating from colleges and graduate programs across the United States, who plan to seek employment after graduation. In order to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of an employment mentoring program, students will be randomly assigned to conditions in which half will be paired with mentors who work nearby (to allow for face-to-face meetings in the mentor's workplace); the other half will be provided with resources relating to career development. A combination of face-to-face, telephone, email, and other electronic means of contact will be used as part of the mentoring process. Students will receive incentives for their participation in the project. We will examine the influence of a mentoring relationship on various employment outcome measures including: job placement, job fit, job satisfaction, self-efficacy in job seeking, and development of job-seeking skills.

We anticipate that students and mentors will find this program highly beneficial. Potential benefits for students include the opportunity to work with a career mentor who is blind, assistance in career goal development, job seeking, job placement, and opportunities for job shadowing. We expect that mentors will also benefit from the opportunity to work closely with students who are blind to provide professional development and to assist young professionals as they begin their careers. Both students and mentors will play an important role in research that seeks to benefit the blind community.

Recruitment for this project is now closed. If you would like to participate is future research, please sign up for our Participant Registry for Blindness and Low Vision Research (http://tiny.cc/participant-registry).