By: Mike Mote, Manager of Accessibility and Workforce Development

Are you an employer on the fence about hiring workers who are visually impaired or blind? *It is easier than you think! Let us explain how to set up your business to be inclusive and welcoming to people with disabilities.

Let’s Talk Accessibility at Work with Mike Mote

Photo of Mike Mote sitting at his desk in front of his laptop

I was born blind and spent my entire life defying the odds. As a member of the National Honor Society, I graduated from Jacksonville State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. I worked in commercial radio for 15 years. I quickly learned that I could hold any job I wanted to as long as I understood technology. There is so much available for people who are blind.  In fact, without technology, I wouldn’t have been able to do my current work with Learfield IMG college as a broadcaster with Southern Mississippi football, basketball, and this past season, the Houston Cougars basketball team that reached the final four. Yes, I announced sports highlights in real-time without being able to actually see the game, thanks to technology.  I started my journey with IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the country, in 2012. I am now the Manager of Accessibility and Workforce Development.

There is no way that I could perform any of my work without my assistive technology. It allows me to perform my job at the level that is expected by my employer. Without accessible technology, my life would be much less fulfilling.

Do not let this scare you as an employer! Here is some helpful information:

Hesitant About Hiring?

-Technology has leveled the playing field for all, employees, and employers.

-Don’t be afraid of assistive technology and the use of it in your environment. In many cases, the software and hardware needed to perform the job are purchased by a company like ours, or by a state agency. We even train the employee before they start working for you.

-Understand that someone who is blind or visually impaired knows how to utilize their technology and they will bring that experience with them to your workplace.

-Our data shows the retention rate of people who are blind surpasses those with no disability.

Besides Technology, What Can I Do?

-If you are sighted, please announce yourself when entering a room or even passing in the workplace.  For example, “Hey Mike, it’s Ryan”.  It helps those who are blind or have low vision feel comfortable.

-When in a group setting make sure to be clear to whom you are speaking to by using names.  Example “Mike, what do you think of this idea?”

-Do your best to keep all walk paths clear of obstructions.

-If you’re not sure how to help just ask.

Want to learn more? Join us!

Facebook Live Chat with Accessibility and Workforce Development Manager Mike Mote

#GAAD Global Workplace Accessibility Day, May 20th

Thursday, May 20, 2021, at Noon

Ask Mike Questions and learn how you can build an accessible workplace!