September 27, 2022 (Washington, DC) – As we approach October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, it is important to note that despite the record-low unemployment rate of 3.7% in the United States, only 19% of disabled adults are employed, according to US Department of Labor (USDoL) statistics .
For Michael Jones, a college graduate with a computer science background who has been blind since birth and can only see figures up to a distance of 20 feet, that sobering statistic meant he had to work harder to increase his odds of fulfilling his IT career aspirations. He turned to NSITE and Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS), two organizations that offer training and placement services for differently-abled individuals.
“I couldn’t be more happy with this process. Everybody has been so supportive and accommodating. I haven’t had to mention accessible technology without them being willing to make it happen. That is an incredibly rare thing. Most companies don’t understand the process like NSITE and WOS do,” says Michael Jones.
In working with NSITE, Jones found a non-profit that really understands the challenges that face a blind or low-vision job candidate. NSITE specializes in providing a continuum of employment services to connect employers specifically with talented, dedicated people who are blind or low-vision. Together with WOS, which helps underserved individuals, including veterans, obtain skills for employment, their expertise provided Michael with assistive technology, job training skills, and the opportunity to interview with Parsons, an American technology-focused defense, intelligence, security, and infrastructure engineering firm that was seeking additional IT support. Through WOS' On-Demand services, Michael was placed into a comprehensive, multi-level, six-month program that was personally guided by mentors to prepare him for his career. Now a Parson IT Support Technician, Michael wants to raise awareness for other blind and low-vision individuals looking for career opportunities.
“It is so important that we share more stories that show how people are impacted by NSITE and WOS, and show jobs like this. They (people who are blind) don’t know they can get into IT and many are already computer-literate. Companies need to recognize that people like me make great additions to their workforce and having us fit into a team is much easier than they realize,” observed Jones.
NSITE and WOS agree and are using National Disability Employment Awareness Month as an opportunity to educate businesses as to the value that workers like Jones add to their talent, and to their diversity/equity employment goals.
“October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and this year’s theme of fixing the equity equation for the disabled is exactly where we are focused,” notes Billy Parker, NSITE Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We support companies like Parsons that are seeking a more diverse and inclusive workforce with tools, resources, and job-ready candidates who have low vision or are blind for positions in sales, IT, HR, and contract management, as well as other business support services.”
Michael’s Job Journey
Throughout his career journey with WOS and NSITE, Michael was able to go through training and development at a Help Desk position. In addition to career development, he was given the opportunity to work with a team and also enhance personal life skills such as traveling on his own and getting out of his comfort zone. WOS’ On Demand services provide candidates with carefully designed, hands-on training speciﬁc for their needs. Michael completed training programs personally guided by mentors, and received comprehensive support from both organizations. NSITE provided training and assistive technology recommendations; WOS provided personal and career development, and placement with Parsons. As Michael advances in his career, NSITE will continue to provide training that he may need to support his career aspirations.
“In working with NSITE, our team was able to complement their expertise,” says Alyse Nullmeyer, WOS Client Success Manager. “Both organizations worked to provide Michael with the tools he needed to succeed at finding a position that fit his skillset. Michael is an exceptionally talented and hardworking individual, and we are proud to be able to leave a positive impact throughout his journey. We look forward to supporting many more people like him.”
NSITE has strategic partnerships with multiple organizations and a new NSITE U, a gateway to a learning management system developed to provide individuals who are blind and low-vision with on-demand accessible tools, programs and certificates to help them succeed in today’s technologically advanced workforce. Class offerings are updated regularly: https://nsite.org/training/ and jobs specific to those with blind and low vision are posted on NSITE CONNECT .
NSITE provides a continuum of employment services that connect employers with talented, dedicated people who are blind or low-vision to meet their workforce needs. NSITE’s services are also available to veterans. NSITE works with job candidates and employers equally, to ensure that finding the right employee-employer match is as smooth and seamless as possible. With a range of offerings that include talent development, corporate diversity awareness training, and job placement services through the proprietary NSITE CONNECT job board, NSITE is the go-to consultancy for blind and low-vision talent and corporate leadership to substantially reduce the unemployment rate for the BVI community. Connect with NSITE: Twitter and LinkedIn Get_NSITE .
About Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS)
Founded in 2005, Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS) is a leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to developing the skills of untapped talent from underserviced and veteran communities through partnerships with organizations dedicated to diversifying their workforce. This includes people of color, first-generation college graduates, and early-career aspirants. Utilizing a scientifically-based model derived from research conducted at Columbia University, they recruit, educate, train, and place high-potential candidates with leading organizations around the world. To date, WOS has served 6000+ individuals through partnerships with more than 75 corporations in 65+ locations worldwide.
Michael Jones, IT Support Desk achieved his career goal to work in IT when he received training and job placement services through NSITE & WOS.