By John Zamora, M.S., CDMS

How to Find Vocational Training Programs

There are numerous training opportunities and different types of work situations available throughout the country. Use the VisionAware Directory of Services to find your state and local vision rehabilitation agencies that offer training opportunities near you.

In some cases, the One-Stop Career Center may offer training programs in job areas that have accommodations to meet your needs. Many community colleges, universities, and adult training programs have Disability Centers that can provide similar accommodations and assistance for you to learn skills in a wide range of vocational areas.

However, since the numbers of people who are blind or have low vision are relatively low compared to other groups of people with disabilities, specialized training or work sites may not be available in your community. If this is the case, the following list of training options may be helpful:

  • The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers online and distance education courses that can be useful in preparing for employment. Hadley’s Professional Education Program includes courses in braille, access technology, and independent living.
  • World Services for the Blind offers job-specific training programs for the Internal Revenue Service, as well as the following vocational courses: Assistive Technology Instructor, Bicycle Assembly and Repair, Clerical Skills, Customer Service, Horticulture, Microsoft Computer Systems Engineer, Small Business Management, Small Engine Repair, and Word Processing.
  • National Industries for the Blind (NIB) enhances opportunities for the economic and personal independence of persons who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment. NIB operates under the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act, a mandatory federal purchasing program, enabling people who are blind or have low vision to provide products and services to federal and commercial customers.
  • The Business Enterprise Program is a training and entrepreneurial program that teaches individuals who are blind or have low vision to manage and run vending operations, including snack bars and cafeterias in schools, corporate offices, and Federal and state facilities. The program offers training in food management and accounting, and assists individuals in locating a business site. For more information, contact your state rehabilitation agency, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, or the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University.

Since new training options and facilities are being created every day, it’s important for you, along with your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, to keep up-to-date with potential vocational opportunities and resources.