In the United States, there are 2.1 million people who have a visual impairment or are blind or have low vision (VI/B/LV), are of working age, and are not employed and not in the workforce. Their lost wages are an estimated $80 billion per year, given that people who have a VI/B/LV have average wages of $38,500[i]. Not much is understood about how visual impairment affects their daily lives and the challenges they face. We also know little about the 2.0 million people who have VI/B/LV and are in the workforce – and whose employment rate is 92%! This post is our team’s initial effort to share new information about this workforce, and to begin a conversation about how to enable these workers to attain greater employment and opportunity.
In this post we will share information about employment and independence of people who have VI/B/LV, and we will provide a scaffolding paradigm for how to consider the employment challenges to this community. With that scaffolding paradigm we can begin to address the employment challenges in a measurable incremental manner; each small step leading to larger synergistic changes and momentum for change.