The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. has always been at the forefront of advocating for the rights and opportunities of people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities. This year, the Lighthouse launched a powerful program to empower employees towards upward mobility with the creation of the Workforce Development Program.
The Workforce Development Program
The Workforce Development program was designed to provide employees who are blind or DeafBlind with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to advance their careers.
Cheryl Cumings, a woman who embodies the spirit of resilience and determination, was the perfect candidate for the newly established role of Workforce Development Manager. Her personal journey navigating the job market as a blind individual fueled her passion for employment advocacy.
Cheryl shares, “This program was created with the aim of helping blind and DeafBlind staff to gain skills, knowledge, and experience needed to better position themselves for a promotion within the Lighthouse, or to pursue employment opportunities outside of the Lighthouse.”
Benefits of the Program
The program isn’t just about training or career advancement; it’s about transforming lives and creating opportunities. What sets the Workforce Development Program apart is its unwavering focus on individualized growth and development. Participants commit to attending monthly training sessions that equip them with transferable skills vital for their current and future roles. These sessions touch on areas like emotional intelligence, presentation skills, conflict management, and team collaboration.
One of the program’s core attributes is its emphasis on identifying and harnessing personal strengths. Cheryl believes that understanding what one can bring to the workplace is essential in job hunting.
She shares, “We are using a strengths model. A lot of time, when people think about seeking employment, they’re focusing on what they don’t have. We want to focus on the strengths that they’re bringing, instead.”
“If you know what you can positively contribute to a workplace, that helps you to be able to present yourself. It also holds you up when maybe things aren’t turning out the way you want them to,” she continues.
The program also provides practical tools, such as crafting effective resumes and cover letters, and imparts knowledge about job searching and interview techniques. Informational interviews, job shadowing experiences, and educational pursuits are also integrated into the program to empower participants to make informed career decisions.
Setting Milestones for Success
The Workforce Development program is not just a temporary course; it’s a journey towards self-discovery and career advancement. Cheryl, as a mentor, guides participants in setting and achieving milestones. These include creating a resume, crafting an elevator pitch, outlining career plans, conducting informational interviews, job shadowing, exploring educational opportunities, and applying for positions.
Participants will emerge from the program equipped with a newfound sense of confidence and direction. They will not only have a clearer understanding of their career goals but also possess the tools and strategies to pursue them actively.
Beyond the Program
While the formal training aspect of the pilot program concludes in January 2024, the impact will endure. Cheryl remains committed to providing ongoing support to program alumni, ensuring they continue on their path to success.
This program embodies the Lighthouse’s unwavering commitment to empowering employees towards upward mobility. By offering participants training, mentorship, and personalized guidance, the program ensures that individuals are equipped with the tools and knowledge to advance in their careers. Whether they choose to continue their journey within the Lighthouse or explore opportunities beyond its walls, the program instills the confidence and skills needed for upward mobility. It stands as a testament to the belief that everyone, regardless of their background or abilities, should have the chance to ascend the career ladder and realize their fullest potential.
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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.