[games_access] Fwd: Introducing AFB's Research Navigator--Inaugural Edition: Employment of People with Vision Loss

Dan Fischbach blindwolf8 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 23 20:26:15 EST 2014

No problem Thomas! :-) I hope you enjoy the information. (as much as it can

Dan Fischbach, Net+, MCP
W: danfischbach.com P: 609-458-7920
Proud NJIT (BS) and UCF/FIEA (MS) graduate
Please consider the environment before printing this email

On Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM, Thomas Westin <thomas at westin.nu> wrote:

> Hi again,
> Dan sent me this (thanks Dan!) which can be used in our contacts with the
> Diversity SIG
> Best regards,
> Thomas
> From: AFB Research Navigator <MRichert at afb.net>
> Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 5:30 PM
> Subject: Introducing AFB's Research Navigator--Inaugural Edition:
> Employment of People with Vision Loss
> To: AFB Subscriber <afbweb at afb.net>
> [image: AFB DirectConnect Letterhead]
> *Introducing AFB's Research Navigator*
> *A Quarterly Series on Research in Blindness and Visual Impairment from
> the AFB Public Policy Center*
> Welcome to this first edition of AFB's Research Navigator. This is a
> quarterly series of the AFB Public Policy Center. The purpose of this
> series is to keep you informed of user-friendly facts and figures and the
> latest research pertaining to people with vision loss. The series will also
> include the necessary background information so you may use the information
> most accurately. Have an idea for a Research Navigator topic? Want to know
> more about a particular statistic or line of research? Send your thoughts
> to AFB's Senior Policy Researcher, Rebecca Sheffield
> Follow this link to email Rebecca Sheffield <rsheffield at afb.net>.
> Readers are also encouraged to check out AFB's Statistical Snapshots on a
> regular basis.
> Follow this link to Statistical Snapshots <http://www.afb.org/stats>
> This webpage is regularly updated with a wide variety of information and
> tools that address commonly asked questions about people with vision loss.
> In recognition of October as National Disability Employment Awareness
> Month, our first topic for AFB's Research Navigator is:
> *The Current State of Employment among Individuals who are Blind or
> Visually Impaired*
> *Introduction to the Topic*
> It is no secret that individuals who are blind or visually impaired have
> far lower employment rates and labor force participation rates than the
> general population. Certainly, it is a topic of much discussion in this
> field: for example, the latest volume of the *Journal of Visual
> Impairment & Blindness* (JVIB November - December 2013, volume 107,
> number 6) was a special issue dedicated to transition and employment, not
> to mention the numerous articles that have been published in other volumes
> of JVIB.
> Follow this link to JVIB November - December 2013, volume 107, number 6
> <http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubjvib.asp?DocID=jvib0706toc>
> Joe Strechay of AFB CareerConnect frequently blogs about the topic.
> Follow this link to read more about Joe Strechay
> <http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/press-room/experts-guide/employment-experts/joe-strechay/12345>
> Follow this link to AFB CareerConnect
> <http://www.afb.org/blog/careerconnect-blog/1>
> AFB's annual Leadership Conference often has a number of sessions on the
> topic, and the list goes on.
> Follow this link to AFB's annual Leadership Conference
> <http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/events-and-awards/american-foundation-for-the-blind-leadership-conference-2015/123>
> Yet, among the general population, employment rates among people with
> vision loss, indeed, employment rates among people with disabilities is not
> commonly a hot topic of conversation. To be sure, the bleak employment
> numbers have been acknowledged - and these numbers have been acknowledged
> worldwide - but outside the field, little action has been taken.
> *The Numbers*
> First, some definitions. When discussing employment, there are three key
> figures: unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, and percentage
> not in the labor force. The unemployment rate, as calculated by the Bureau
> of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the percentage of the total labor force that
> is unemployed but actively seeking employment and willing to work.
> Follow this link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
> <http://www.bls.gov/>
> The unemployment rate does not count individuals who are not looking for
> work, whether this is because a decision has been made to leave the
> workforce or those who have dropped out of the workforce as a result of
> long-term unemployment. The labor force participation, as defined by BLS,
> is "the subset of Americans who have jobs or are seeking a job, are at
> least 16 years old, are not serving in the military and are not
> institutionalized." The percentage not in labor force accounts for both,
> those counted in the unemployment number and those that have either dropped
> out of the labor force or did not enter it. This number, the percentage not
> in labor force, is always higher than the unemployment rate and provides a
> more accurate picture of the proportion of people who are not employed.
> This number seeks to represent all Americans who are eligible to work in
> the everyday U.S. economy. All these figures are representative of the
> civilian labor force.
> Now, the numbers. First, let us look at the numbers for "working-age"
> (i.e., 16 to 64 years of age) individuals who are blind or visually
> impaired. In December 2013, this subset of the population had a 36 percent
> labor force participation rate, 64 percent not in the labor force, and 15
> percent unemployment rate (American Foundation for the Blind [AFB], 2014).
> That means that an alarming 64 percent of individuals who are blind or
> visually impaired 16 to 64 years of age were not working! But to fully
> understand the gravity of this number, let us take a moment to look at the
> same figures for the general working-age population (i.e. individuals 16 to
> 64 years of age) during the same month, December 2013. The labor force
> participation rate was 72 percent, percent not in labor force was 28, and
> the unemployment rate was 7 percent (BLS, 2013). To reiterate, the labor
> force participation rate among the general working-age population, 16 and
> to 64 years of age was exactly two times (72 percent) that of the labor
> force participation rate among individuals who are blind or visually
> impaired (36 percent).
> December 2013 was not a unique month. Indeed, individuals with vision loss
> continually have far lower labor force participation rates than their
> counterparts in the general population. Between 2009 and 2012, the yearly
> average labor force participation rate for all working-age individuals
> ranged from 75 percent in 2009 to 73 percent in 2012. For that same time
> period and age group, the yearly average for individuals with vision loss
> ranged from 40 percent in 2009 to 36 percent in 2012 (Kelly, 2013). And,
> for those individuals with vision loss who are employed, this group has
> lower median monthly earnings: $2,281 person with vision loss versus $2,724
> for an individual with no disability (Brault, 2013).
> *Note*: We use caution about drawing too many conclusions from these data
> as the margins of error around both the earnings and family income were
> relatively large. The 90% confidence interval lower bound of the family
> income estimate for people with disabilities is $2,783 and the upper bound
> of the family income estimate for people with difficulty seeing is $2,823.
> This overlap implies that the two may not be statistically significant at
> the 90 percent confidence level. Nevertheless, these numbers are insightful.
> *Why This Matters*
> Employment is far more than a paycheck, which, in and of itself is vitally
> important. Employment is the economic and social foundation for stability
> in one's life, the lynchpin for one's independence, an important component
> of one's self-definition. Employment has traditionally served as an
> indicator of one's entrance into adulthood (Silva, 2012). Additionally,
> the negative effects of unemployment on psychological well-being have long
> been established. Indeed, lack of employment has been shown to correlate
> with depression, anxiety, and low subjective well-being and self-esteem (Cohn
> 1978, Paul & Moser, 2009). Other research has focused on the role of
> joblessness and its negative association to one's social role, meaning
> that, with a lack of employment comes a questioning of one's role as a
> friend, spouse, parent, etc. (Price, Friedland, & Vinokur, 1998). These
> social relationships are fundamental aspects of well-being. Thus, not only
> does unemployment negatively impact one's earnings, it also negatively
> affects one's view of self, resulting in low self-esteem, low self-worth,
> and low self-respect.
> Moreover, individuals with vision impairments want to work.
> RespectAbilityUSA, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., recently
> presented findings on their survey of individuals with disabilities and
> family members, close friends, professionals, and volunteers in the
> disability community.
> *Note*: While we find the results of this survey interesting, we are not
> privy to their exact methodology and are therefore cautious in reporting
> these numbers. Moreover, we know that their sample includes "the activist
> people with disabilities community and reflects more women, Democrats,
> Caucasians, and a more highly educated audience than one might expect
> within the disability community."
> Their survey yielded 3,839 respondents of which 1,969 were individuals
> with a disability. While this survey was of people with all types of
> disabilities, individuals with vision loss were part of the sample and the
> results provide some insight into the issue. Most pertinent among their
> findings was that 71 percent of people with disabilities said that having a
> job was more important to them than a government safety net. Additionally,
> over three-fourths of respondents who had disabilities reported that having
> a job was "important to their happiness" (RespectAbilityUSA).
> Yet, despite the desire for and knowledge of the importance of employment,
> barriers continue to exist. Past studies have shown that education alone is
> not enough in helping individuals with visual impairments in gaining higher
> employment numbers (Kirchner & Smith, 2005). Some of the most common
> barriers cited in employment literature continue to be out-of-date or
> inaccessible equipment and materials, inadequate assistive technologies,
> inadequate compensation, weak job status, discrimination, and limited
> training opportunities. Included in these barriers is a lack of, what Wolffe
> (2011) refers to as, employability skills on the part of the individual
> with vision loss. The skills included in this category are: "organizational
> and planning skills, working in a team, interacting appropriately with
> others, and demonstrating a sense of responsibility"(Kaine & Kent, 2013,
> p. 534)and are vital in both gaining and maintaining employment. Like any
> other skill set, these must be taught and practiced. And, despite numerous
> research studies aimed at identifying ways to improve this skill set, there
> continues to be a need for evidenced-based practices which have successful
> results (Cavenaugh & Giesen, 2012).
> *Conclusion*
> Employment is important to one's social and economic livelihood. The
> employment numbers for individuals who are blind or visually impaired are
> bleak. And, important to point out is that certain socio-demographic groups
> among this population fare worse than others. We know that access to
> quality vocational rehabilitation (a future topic of AFB's Research
> Navigator quarterly series), training programs, career counseling and
> mentoring, and professional resources all have the potential to make a
> positive difference in employment outcomes. Yet, despite all this
> significant research, researchers and practitioners alike continue to be
> faced with the problem of how to increase employability. No doubt, an
> investment must be made in the aforementioned programs, and they must be
> made available to all who need them. But this also means that there is a
> need for more research, both in the areas mentioned above and in others,
> such as the importance of social networks and various training and
> development interventions.
> *References*
> *Each reference is hyperlinked to a website where you can read the
> original source. Note that a subscription or fee applies to read some
> articles in their entirety.*
>    - American Foundation for the Blind. (2014). Interpreting Bureau of
>    Labor Statistics employment data.
>    <http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/blindness-statistics/adults/interpreting-bls-employment-data/1234>
>    - Brault, M. (2013). Census Bureau data on vision difficulty.
>    Presented at: Focus on Eye Health National Summit. July 2013.
>    <http://www.preventblindness.net/site/DocServer/6a_Brault.pdf?docID=3169>
>    - Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013). The employment situation -
>    December 2013. <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf>
>    - Cavenaugh, B., & Giesen, J. M. (2012). A systematic review of
>    transition interventions affecting the employability of youths with visual
>    impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 106(7), 400-413.
>    <http://www.afb.org/jvib/jvibabstractNew.asp?articleid=jvib060703>
>    - Cohn, R. M. (1978). The effect of employment status change on
>    self-attitudes. Social Psychology, 41(2), 81-93.
>    <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033568>
>    - Kaine, N., & Kent, R. (2013). Practice perspectives: Activities to
>    encourage employability skills in middle childhood. Journal of Visual
>    Impairment & Blindness, 107(6), 524-528.
>    <http://www.afb.org/jvib/jvibabstractNew.asp?articleid=jvib070614>
>    - Kelly, S. M. (2013). Labor force participation rates among
>    working-age individuals with visual impairments. Journal of Visual
>    Impairment & Blindness, 107(6), 509-513.
>    <http://www.afb.org/jvib/jvibabstractNew.asp?articleid=jvib070611>
>    - Kirchner, C., & Smith, B. (2005). Transition to what? Education and
>    employment outcomes for visually impaired youths after high school. Journal
>    of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 99(8), 499.
>    <http://www.afb.org/jvib/jvibabstractNew.asp?articleid=JVIB990806>
>    - Paul, K. I., & Moser, K. (2009). Unemployment impairs mental health:
>    Meta-analyses. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74(3), 264-282.
>    <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001879109000037>
>    - Price, R. H., Friedland, D. S., & Vinokur. A. D. (1998). Job loss:
>    Hard times and eroded identity.In J.H. Harvey, ed., Perspectives on loss: A
>    sourcebook (pp. 303-316). Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis.
>    <http://isr.umich.edu/src/seh/mprc/Job%20Loss%20Hard%20times%20and%20eroded%20identity.pdf>
>    - RespectAbilityUSA. (2014). Nationwide poll of people with
>    disabilities, family members, close friends, professionals, and volunteers
>    in the disability community.
>    <http://www.scribd.com/doc/198419978/20140110-Final-Poll-Slides>
>    - Silva, J. M. (2012). Constructing adulthood in an age of
>    uncertainty. American Sociological Review, 77(4), 505-522.
>    <http://asr.sagepub.com/content/77/4/505.short>
>    - Wolffe, K. (2011). Pre-employment Programme Trainer's Manual.
>    London: Royal National Institute of Blind People.
>    <http://www.rnib.org.uk/services-we-offer-advice-professionals-employment-professionals/pre-employment-programme>
> *Thanks!*
> AFB would like to thank Dr. Stacy Kelly, Policy Research Consultant and
> Assistant Professor in the Northern Illinois University Visual Disabilities
> Program, for her work on this article.
> Follow this link to visit Northern Illinois University Visual Disabilities
> Program <http://www.cedu.niu.edu/seed/academic/vision/>
> *Questions?*
> If you have questions about this edition of the Research Navigator or
> other research/stats issues related to blindness/visual impairments, please
> contact AFB's Senior Policy Researcher, Rebecca Sheffield.
> Follow this link to email Rebecca Sheffield <rsheffield at afb.net>.
> You can unsubscribe at any time. To remove your name from this mailing
> list, or to find out what other newsletters are available from AFB, visit
> http://www.afb.org/myafbnewsletter.aspx.
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