The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) and several Seattle businesses will come together on September 16th, 2009, to celebrate a two-year successful partnership that has enhanced the employability of Washingtonians who are blind or have low vision. The partnership, titled “Supervised Internship Program” (SIP) was designed to give newly-trained blind individuals the opportunity to apply thier skills in a real-world setting in thier preferred field of work, while offering free labor to businesses to help with thier bottom lines.

November of 2007 marked the first of the SIP placements. Presently, the list has grown to twenty internships, represending a variety of jobs, including:

  • Accounting Assistant, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. – Seattle
  • Administrative Assistant, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. – Seattle
  • Engish Tutor for and After-School program, Horn of Africa
  • Maintenance Crew Worker, Seattle Housing Authority at Rainier Vista
  • Administrative Assistant, Seattle Housing Authority at Rainier Vista
  • Patron Assistant for Access Technology and Website Access, Seattle Public Library LEAP
  • Food Service Worker, Dennis’s Cafe
  • Administrative Assistant, Washington Biomedical and Biotechnology Association
  • Floral Assistant, KC’s Flowers
  • Aide to Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bow Lake Elementary School
  • Receptionist / Customer Service Agent, Seattle Housing Authority at Yesler Terrace
  • Children’s Violin Instructor, Arts in Motion
  • Counselor Assistant, Redmond WorkSource
  • Assistive Technology Instructional Assistant, Seattle Central Community College

Everyone appears to benefit from this internship program. SIP participants show and report increased self-confidence, as one totally-blind intern noted, “This experience gave me the confidence to know that even though I’d done this work as a sighted person, I know now I can increase my skills and still be part of the community despite my blindness and public percentions”.

Businesses have appreciated the helping hand. Arts in Motion Executive Director Denise Mimura stated,

[Our intern] is wonderful…Thanks for the assistance. We all enjoy her presence and assistance”.