National Job Board through the NRTC
The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision is excited to offer a new online job board for the blindness and low vision (B/LV) field!
The job board is a free online resource designed for organizations to share professional job opportunities and for professionals seeking employment. We currently have listings for Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, O&M Specialists, VR Counselors, Assistive Technology specialists, and more.
Created as a resource to link organizations with candidates, we have had over fifty submissions in the few months that the job board has been live. We are excited about this resource and hope that organizations and professionals that visit the job board also explore our website to discover the many other resources available there. Cantrice Moffitt, Rehabilitation Training and Outreach Specialist, says, “we want to do our part to educate via training and research, but also share available job opportunities.”
To view available positions or submit a job posting, please visit our Job Board page.
Current Research Highlight: Online Job Application Accessibility
Lack of web accessibility, particularly for screen reader users, is a longstanding issue, and inaccessible job application sites are a major barrier to employment opportunities for people who are B/LV. Research has documented both of these problems, but the most recent study on online job application accessibility was conducted more than 10 years ago. The purpose of this one-year study, which was conducted by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), was to evaluate the accessibility and usability of the job-application websites of 30 Fortune 500 companies.
To conduct the study, we randomly selected a sample of 30 companies across five industry sectors from the Fortune 500 list. Three expert screen reader users, each using a different screen reader and browser combination (e.g., JAWS and Chrome), served as usability testers for the study. Each usability tester objectively tested the 30 online job application sites and identified any accessibility and usability problems they experienced. An accessibility engineer monitored the testing and documented the results.
Data collection and analyses were completed in 2021. We found that the testers experienced significant barriers to completing the online job applications, with 23 of the 30 sites having critical issues preventing at least one of the three from completing the application. Our findings are very similar, in terms of percentage of screen reader users who could complete the application independently, to the results of the study conducted in 2011. This suggests that online job application accessibility has not noticeably improved in the past 10 years.
To encourage the 30 companies to improve the accessibility of their job application sites, AFB provided each with a personalized report card that summarized the type and severity of issues found and highlighted specific feedback from the usability testers. We also plan to publish detailed results from the study in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more information about this research project, visit our research project page.
Training and Technical Assistance
The NRTC Podcast, Employment Insights, has new episodes available! In each episode, we sit down with an individual who is B/LV who shares insight into their employment journey and advice based on their experiences in the workplace. To listen to the newest episodes, visit our Webinars and Podcasts page.
We have one new course available:
Facilitating Family Support: Vision rehabilitation services frequently occur with the influence, positive or negative, of family and friends. Sarah Clark, a licensed counselor and vision rehabilitation therapist shares information and strategies on how to incorporate families into the rehabilitation process for older adults. (1 hour ACVREP and NBPCB).
The NRTC is pleased to offer a new Blind & Low Vision Certificate Program for Business Development Professionals. The program was developed based on a request from VR agencies. It is a compilation of five existing NRTC courses grouped together to provide foundational information specifically for business development professionals who do not have experience working with individuals with B/LV. For more information and to register for this program, visit our Canvas Catalog page.
Other NRTC News
NRTC Recruiting Applicants for Vision Specialist Program
The NRTC is recruiting our next class of Vision Specialists in Vocational Rehabilitation. Our online graduate certificate program, funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, lasts one year (January to December). The courses are designed for professionals to help them become more effective in their work with individuals who are B/LV. Applications will be accepted until October 7, 2022. To learn more about this program and how to apply, visit our Vision Specialist page on our website.
Welcome Cassidy Pedram
The NRTC is excited to welcome Cassidy Pedram to our Communications team! She will utilize her communication and marketing background to assist the NRTC with optimizing the promotion of its activities and research results across various audiences.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward Workshops
Putting Your Best Foot Forward (PYBFF) is a job search skills training program for transition-age youth who are B/LV. This program was designed to help youth learn the skills needed to find a job and succeed in the workplace. PYBFF includes five units with 40 hours of content, covering topics such as preparing for an interview, disability disclosure, resume development, online job searches, and improving self-presentation. Our next PYBFF trainer workshop is scheduled for September 27-28, 2022 (ACVREP and CRC Credit available). To learn more about PYBFF and sign up for our workshop waitlist, visit our PYBFF page.
Publications, Presentation, and Miscellanies
Crudden, A. & McKnight, Z. (2022). Out of the labor force due to health reasons? An analysis of the Survey of Income and Program Participation regarding persons with visual impairments. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research. DOI: 10.1097/MRR.0000000000000528
McDonnall, M. C., Cmar, J., & McKnight, Z. S. (2022). Beyond employment rates: Continuity of employment for people with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. Advance online publication.
Stinson-Perez, S., & Lang, A. H. (2022). Independent living older blind programs in the United States: Key findings in administrative best practices. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. Advance online publication.
Steverson, A., McDonnall, M., & Sergi, K. (2022, May). What assistive technologies are used in the workplace? Initial research findings by NRTC on Blindness and Low Vision. AccessWorld. https://www.afb.org/aw/23/5/17939
Moffitt, C. (2021, July 7). Career advantage & blind rehabilitation professionals. [Virtual Training]. NFB National Convention: National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals.
McDonnall, M., Steverson, A., & Sergi, K. (2022, July 21). Assistive technology use in the workplace for people who are blind or have low vision. Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Biennial International Conference. St. Louis, MO
Abbott, P., Norris, D., Connors, E., & Ottowitz, J. (2022, July 22). The future of the VRT field. Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Biennial International Conference. St. Louis, MO
Antonelli, K., Cmar, J., & Steverson, A. (2022, July 23). 4to24: An app to help parents and youth prepare for employment. Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Biennial International Conference. St. Louis, MO.
Farrow, K., McMahon, J., Connors, E., & Norris, D. (2022, July 24). Establishing reliability for the VRT functional independent living assessment. Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Biennial International Conference. St. Louis, MO
July 15 (2:00 CST) – Strategies for Recruiting on College Campuses: During this webinar, participants will be introduced to staff recruitment strategies and resources to help recruit on college campuses to attract and retain qualified staff. For more information and to register, visit the OIB-TAC event page.