According to the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year study, over 700,000 legally blind individuals reside in California, with only 37.7% of working age adults gainfully employed. Not to mention, approximately 31.2% of legally blind people live in poverty (ACS 2012). Within San Diego, very few organizations provide dedicated adaptive technology training, let alone advanced adaptive technology training needed to equip individuals for the workforce. Due to these dire statistics and San Diego Futures Foundation’s (SDFF) niche within technology and education, SDFF recently launched an Adaptive Technology Program designed to offer competitive workforce and academic training for blind and visually impaired individuals.
SDFF’s mission is to improve the lives of San Diego’s most vulnerable populations through the distribution, adoption, and utilization of technology. We work across all sectors to increase access and promote economic, academic, and social equality. Since 1999, we have provided thousands of disadvantaged residents with free IT education, vocational training, job placement, and computer equipment. By expanding IT education/training and career opportunities, and cultivating the necessary vocational skills to pursue, secure and retain livable-wage jobs, we not only empower our clients, but also help create a more accessible, collaborative, and inclusive regional workforce.
Not only does SDFF hope to, simply, improve the lives of blind & visually impaired individuals, but we aspire to equip individuals with the technological skills, tools and equipment they need to thrive as individuals and to become gainfully employed and competitive within the workforce despite their barrier. Thus, ultimately leading to independent and sustainable living.
SDFF’s Adaptive Technology (AT) Program provides one-to-one AT training to blind and low vision clients referred through the Department of Rehabilitation, including:
- Adaptive screen-reading software: JAWS, ZoomText, Window-Eyes, Voiceover
- Windows OS with emphasis on mastery of alternative keyboard commands
- Microsoft Office Programs: MS Word, MS Excel, MS Outlook, Internet Explorer and other web browsers
- Assistive technologies: electronic note-takers, refreshable Braille displays, Optical character recognition systems, DAISY DTB playback hardware and software, Braille translation software, Apple Mac products, Kurzweil, and OpenBook.
- Accessible mobile technologies for iOS and Android
- Internet search/navigation proficiency, communication and employment platforms (e-mail, Linkedin, on-line job boards and applications)
To learn more about SDFF’s AT Program, please check out our website: http://sdfutures.org/training/adaptive-technology/ Or contact Kelvin Crosby, AT Program Instructor: Kelvin@sdfutures.org or 619-269-1694, ext. 289