Workplace Accessibility Tips from Milwaukee-Based Nonprofit

Workplace Accessibility Tips from Milwaukee-Based Nonprofit

Workplace Accessibility Tips from Milwaukee-Based Nonprofit

PR Newswire

MILWAUKEE, Oct. 23, 2020

Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired promotes blind employment during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

MILWAUKEE, Oct. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Finding a job can be difficult, but it's even more challenging when the workplace isn't set up for you to succeed. This is the obstacle people with disabilities face daily, but October is a time to bring awareness to this issue, and one Wisconsin nonprofit is up for the task. Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IBVI) is shining a light on disability employment and workplace accessibility during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

Emily M. works at the IBVI facility in West Allis, Wisconsin, where she is a machine operator. She fled the aftermath of a hurricane in Puerto Rico three years ago, and now has a fulfilling and empowering job.
Emily M. works at the IBVI facility in West Allis, Wisconsin, where she is a machine operator. She fled the aftermath of a hurricane in Puerto Rico three years ago, and now has a fulfilling and empowering job.

Providing Fulfillment and Independence

IBVI President and CEO CJ Lange said this is an issue that affects not only individuals who are blind or visually impaired, but also the local community and economy.

"There are nearly 700,000 people living with a disability in Wisconsin with 110,000 of those people being blind and visually impaired," said Lange. "The unemployment rate among individuals with visual impairments is high—roughly 70%—but it doesn't need to be."

IBVI is working to lower this percentage through its mission of providing meaningful employment opportunities to those who are blind or visually impaired. About 50% of the organization's workforce is made up of people with visual impairments. Through careers at IBVI, these employees are able to achieve financial independence and a more fulfilling daily life.

"All Companies Can Do Their Part"

"Our mission is to drive purpose," said Lange. "And we believe all companies can do their part by advocating for disability employment."

Lange stated that businesses could advocate and help promote blind employment by making work environments more accessible through practical steps that promote a culture of inclusivity.

"Most workplace situations have alternative options that serve those with visual impairments. Adding screen reader technology such as Job Access With Speech (JAWS®) is an affordable and accessible way to open up desk job opportunities to visually impaired employees."

Small Changes that Make a Big Difference

Other steps Lange mentioned that companies could take to improve workplace accessibility include small workspace changes like adding windows to doors used for entering and exiting, and changing floor textures for different building areas that help individuals with visual impairments navigate more easily. Businesses can also work with local transportation systems to ensure a safe and accessible means for employees to get to and from work.

"Within our company, we've found that many of these workplace updates have been relatively seamless to implement," Lange stated. "These small changes make a huge impact on the success of our employees with visual impairments as well as our entire organization."

To learn more about IBVI and its mission, please visit www.ibvi.org.

Cision
Cision

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SOURCE Industries for the Blind & Visually Impaired