INVEST IN BVI YOUTH & WORKING AGE POPULATIONS
Students with visual impairments must learn through experiences - learn by doing - in order to master a skill. Unfortunately, it is widely documented that BVI students have fewer natural learning opportunities.
Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act enacted in July, 2014, five required pre-employment transition service activities were identified as necessary in a Competitive Integrated Employment programs: (i) job exploration & counseling; (ii) work-based learning experiences; (iii) counseling related to post-secondary opportunities; (iv) workplace readiness training; and (v) self-advocacy training.
In 2017, FFF invested in Aurelia Foundation to support a paid internship program for 43 candidates with moderate to severe disabilities. In 2018, FFF invested in DCRC’s adult learning program that empowers people with disabilities to meet their independent living goals through assistive tech, and job training. This same year, FFF funded Vista Center for an employment program to increase the number of blind and visually impaired adults. At the time, neither of these grantees had a resource exclusively dedicated to an employment program.
In 2021, FFF invested in American Printing House’s (APH) inaugural Coding Symposium which garnered the registration of nearly 750 individuals, with roughly 25% from California. The purpose of the symposium was to inspire BVI populations (and their families / teachers) to explore coding as a potential career or skill and to learn how technology (and coding) shaped the lives of prominent and successful BVI business people.
APH has also been working on CareerConnect, an online directory of services database that posts jobs for BVI high school students transitioning to the workforce or higher education. Currently, there are over 2,000 agencies in their directory.