We are encouraged. Every day we see more reports about companies increasing accessibility in their products and hiring practices for the disabled and visually impaired. We like the trend of companies establishing internal departments focused on improving products and creating cultures that are inclusionary. Our Visionary blog post recently interviewed Tony Jasionowski, Senior Group Manager, Aging & Accessibility, Panasonic Corporation of North America, and discussed with him the company’s efforts to align television and phone products with the needs of low vision and legally blind users. This week, we read an article in USA Today about the increasing number of organizations that are incorporating people with disabilities in both their customer base and workforce. It’s all very good news.
USA Today reported the results of the 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a survey conducted by the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
“Since its pilot three years ago, the number of companies participating in the survey has more than doubled,” the newspaper said. “Of the 110 companies that participated in 2017, 68 earned a 100% rating in recruitment and engagement efforts of people with disabilities.”
It’s good business to adopt inclusionary hiring practices.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that one in five people in the U.S. have a disability. That’s a significant part of the potential workforce and one that needs to be tapped. According to the Census Bureau, “Forty-one percent of those age 21 to 64 with any disability were employed, compared with 79 percent of those with no disability.”
Corporations like American Airlines, Walmart and Aetna are working to change that and CVS received a 100% rating on the DEI survey. The company offers training and skills courses so people with disabilities can experience what it would be like to work in the store even before they apply.
As we learned from Panasonic, companies are committing time and resources to understand and address the needs of the disabled, including those with low vision. They are talking to them, listening to their national associations and learning how to make places of employment and products more accessible. USA Today reported that “More companies are integrating online chat features for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, guide dogs for blind workers, internal company affinity groups, external recruitment efforts, hiring goals, retention and advancement policies for people with disabilities into the work place.”
Advanced low vision technology for forward thinking businesses
We work every day with people who are low vision and blind and who have enormous skills and talents to contribute to the workforce in America. The advanced wearable technology that we offer helps them to participate fully in the activities of daily living and work. Now we want to offer this technology to forward thinking corporations. Our corporate low vision division helps to establish internal programs that facilitate and promote the hiring of talented, skilled individuals who are visually impaired.
If you have employees who have recently been diagnosed with eye diseases, or are hiring those who are low vision or blind, we can help. We will work with your human resources department, or other specified internal employee assistance programs, to provide advanced wearable technology, telescope glasses or microscope glasses to employees. We will outfit them with medical devices that make it possible for them to see, read, use computers and function well in your work environment. There is a skilled and talented work force out there and despite low vision and legal blindness they are ready to help grow your business. Together, we can empower the low vision and blind community in your workforce.
Learn how Low Vision Specialists of MD & V can help support your accessibility initiatives when employing individuals who are low vision or blind. (410) 844-0010.