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      Consider Employing Blind and Low Vision Iowans

      The Department for the Blind believes that with the right skills and opportunities a person who is blind or low vision can be a competitive and valuable employee!

      The Department has helped businesses throughout Iowa hire and retain blind and low vision staff. Our services to employers include on-site training, follow-up, accommodations, and technology.

      The Department asks that you consider hiring or retaining people who are qualified for positions you have. We’ll start by discussing how to fulfill your needs while offering fellow Iowans an opportunity to share their skills and talents with others.

      With an 78 percent placement rate, Iowa ranks fourth in the nation in the percentage of blind and low vision people successfully placed, employed and remaining in jobs. A startling statistic?  Not at all.  Many of Iowa’s blind or low vision citizens work productively, live meaningfully and maintain their own households just like anyone else. Thousands do.

      Our Services to Businesses

      The Department has worked with all types and sizes of Iowa businesses all across the state. Our customers represent an equally diverse group of professions and occupations including physicians, attorneys, teachers, drywallers, IT specialists and customer service reps to mention a few. Placement may start with a simple internship or the Department may be able to support on-the-job training for some businesses.

      Read about our Success Stories and review some of the jobs held by Iowans who are blind or low vision.

      More Resources

      Financial Incentives
      Several financial incentives are available, including tax incentives, for hiring employees with a disability.

      Considering Blind Job Candidates: Myths and Misperceptions
      Learn about common misconceptions and frequently asked questions.

      Other Disability Employment Resources
      Learn about additional employment resources available to you, including assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

      Did you know...

      • Most people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, want to work.
      • National studies show that individuals with disabilities have equal or higher job performance ratings, have higher retention rates and have lower absentee rates than employees without disabilities. (Unger, “Employer’s Attitudes,” 2002.)
      • The safety record of both employees with disabilities compared to employees without disabilities is identical. (DuPont Survey, 1990.)
      • Americans with disabilities have more than $175 billion in discretionary spending power. (N.O.D./Harris Survey, 2004.)
      • The vast majority (92%) of the American public views companies that hire people with disabilities more favorably than those that do not, and 87% of the public also agrees they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities. (A National Survey of Consumer Attitudes Towards Companies that Hire People with Disabilities, 2005.)

      For More Information . . .

      If you want more information about employing an Iowan who is blind or low vision, contact:

      Shannon Myers
      Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Specialist
      (515) 242-5746
      shannon.myers@blind.state.ia.us

      Kochell Weber-Ricklefs
      Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Specialist
      (515) 250-8177
      kochell.weber-ricklefs@blind.state.ia.us

      If you have an accommodation question about an employee with a disability other than vision, contact:

      Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS)
      Phone: (515) 281-4311 or (800) 532-1486
      Fax: (515) 281-4703