Teresa Valenzuela, Marketing Coordinator, San Diego Futures Foundation
According to the National Federation of the Blind, 70-75% of blind and visually impaired individuals across the U.S. are unemployed. The San Diego Futures Foundation’s Adaptive Technology Program for the blind and visually impaired is designed to improve the lives of visually impaired and blind individuals through technology.
The Adaptive Technology Program’s focus is on digital literacy with an expected outcome of employment. Our goal is to equip individuals with adaptive and traditional software needed to thrive in the job market and their respective communities.
Adaptive technology includes computer magnifiers, screen readers and computer software that help visually impaired individuals adapt to the workplace. This program is unique to San Diego County as the instructors are blind and visually impaired themselves and can offer students advice and tips based on personal experience.
Ivan Gonzalez Angon went through the program and used his newly learned skills to secure temporary employment with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency as an Office Assistant.
“This is my first job,” said Angon. “I work on tasks for the CalFresh program and I also take phone calls for Eligibility Operations when backup is needed. I use a software called JAWS to do some of my work. It translates word documents to create audio. I can also “write” an audio message or document.”
“Working at the County through the San Diego Futures Foundation has given me an opportunity to reinforce skills and gain more work experience,” said Angon.
Since June 2018, 13 students have graduated from the Adaptive Technology Program. Altogether, 18 students have graduated since the program began in 2017. More than 50% of all graduates have secured employment or an internship after the program.
San Diego Futures Foundation believes that blindness does not have to define one’s future. Our instructors raise the bar with intensive one on one instruction and a high level of expectation. Many employers have never worked with a blind or visually impaired person. We’d like to make a difference and contribute to that end.
As a tech-nonprofit, our vision is that technology may one day be made available to all, regardless of socio-economic status, age, or ability. To learn more about all of San Diego Futures Foundation’s programs and services please visit, https://sdfutures.org/.