At The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., accessible hiring isn’t just a concept; it’s a cornerstone of our mission. More and more companies are starting to recognize the benefits of investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, at the Lighthouse there’s another important component – access.
Access is more important than ever because accessibility is a crucial element of not only attracting diverse talent but also retaining and empowering them. Accessibility plays a pivotal role in making sure that people with disabilities can fully participate in the workplace.
Marina Rake, a Talent Acquisition Coordinator who is blind herself, shares, “Disability doesn’t slow people down. It just changes the way that we need to be accommodated in the workplace.”
Facing Barriers to Employment
Accessibility is about removing barriers that might prevent people with disabilities from accessing the same opportunities as their peers. These barriers can be physical or digital. Sometimes they’re even attitudinal. Jason Rhoades, Talent Acquisition Coordinator at the Lighthouse, shares one of the biggest employment barriers facing people who are blind.
“In an interview situation, you typically have 60 minutes to persuade interviewers that you’re the best candidate for the job. But as a person with a visual impairment, during that 60 minutes you also have to break down decades of misinformation and stereotypes,” he shares.
But barriers don’t only begin during the interview process. In fact, before individuals who are blind even embark on their employment journey, they can often encounter multiple barriers. Among these challenges, the lack of efficient and reliable transportation can make the act of commuting to an interview a complex puzzle to solve. The prevalence of inaccessible job postings prevents people who are blind from exploring or applying for job opportunities. Additionally, seemingly routine tasks like completing paperwork can be a daunting endeavor without access to assistive technology.
The Talent Acquisition team at the Lighthouse understands the significance of the initial steps in the hiring process and works diligently to make the onboarding process seamless, addressing pre-employment needs and accommodations. As the first point of contact for applicants, they ensure that each candidate’s journey begins with understanding and empathy.
Jason shares, “We always ask – is there something that we can provide for your interview that’s going to make things easier for you? What type of technology would you prefer to use?”
Marina adds, “We take a bit of a more individual approach when we review applications that come through.”
Due to facing barriers to employment, some people with disabilities have little to no work experience. Marina comments, “If someone doesn’t have a lot of experience, we consider other factors. Are they professional? Do they know how to work well with others? Are they respectful? Do they respond in a timely manner?”
Interested in meeting our Talent Acquisition team? Check out our open positions >>
The Importance of Accommodations
“With previous employers, trying to get accommodations was very difficult,” Marina shares.
At the Lighthouse, ensuring that accommodations are readily available for employees the moment they start the employment conversation with the Lighthouse team is of paramount importance. By offering accommodations proactively, employees not only feel supported, but perform at their best.
Jason shares his experience. “One of the very appealing things for me when I came to work for the Lighthouse was that all of the barriers that I had encountered in other positions were nonexistent here.”
Marina adds, “Here, the focus is on accessibility, upward mobility, but also just offering employment opportunities for people who are blind, DeafBlind, or blind with other disabilities.”
The Lighthouse exemplifies accessible hiring as more than just a concept—it’s a mission.
Learn more about our commitment to accessibility >>
We’re Leaders in Blind Employment – View Our Open Positions and Apply Today!
The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. transforms the lives of people who are blind, Deafblind, and blind with other disabilities. We are leaders in blind employment. Through employment opportunities, we are a catalyst for empowerment. We foster self-confidence and instill a life changing affirmation that independence is possible. From our expertise in cutting-edge technology to our understanding of mobility, we help people who are blind, Deafblind, and blind with other disabilities live fulfilling lives.