Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive June 2017 Show 1724 Blind Challenges in a Sighted World

Blind Challenges in a Sighted World

Individuals with disabilities receive skills training to be self-sufficient and prosper in the workforce.
Blind Challenges in a Sighted World

Blind Challenges in a Sighted World

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Francis Tuttle Technology Center


Americans with Disabilities Act

Show Details

Show 1724: Blind Challenges in a Sighted World
Air Date: June 11, 2017



Rob McClendon: Well, Department of Labor statistics show that roughly two-thirds of working age people with disabilities remain out of the workforce. And often it’s the lack of skills training that is the difference between those with a job and those without.

Rob McClendon: : Slice and dice – all by feel and not by sight.

Callie Chappell: I really enjoy coming to work because everyone’s very positive.

Rob: Callie Chappell lost her sight from a retina disease, yet still works as a chef at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Tutts Café.

Chappell: My least favorite job in the kitchen is probably peeling potatoes. I don’t really look forward to doing that but I have to.

Hubble: She’s very sincere, been here every day on time, one of my best employees.

Rob: Yet unemployment is high among the visually impaired. According to the National Federation of the Blind, 60 percent of vision-impaired workers are actively unemployed. In downtown Oklahoma City, Michael Harvey teaches lessons he knows well.

Michael Harvey: I’m going to empower them by teaching them the tools.

Rob: Training other visually impaired on how to be self-sufficient.

Harvey: How to get basic directions. How to problem-solve. If you get stuck by a construction zone how do you get around it?

Rob: Equipping others with transferable skills that can make them more marketable in the workforce.

Harvey: One of the problems with blind people finding jobs is a lack of training. Many blind people don’t have the opportunity or don’t take the chance to go get the blindness skills training that they need. So therefore, they’re more reliant on people than is probably feasible for them to be as independent or as employable as they need to be.

Rob: Rob Slaughterbeck is one of Harvey’s students and knows all too well that finding a job can be difficult.

Rob Slaughterbeck: I actually have a bachelor’s in industrial engineering and a master’s in business. Even with that, I attended several job interviews face-to-face, they liked me, everything went great, but never would receive a phone call. Eventually after months and months of that going on that really starts to wear on you, and you get depressed and questioning your own abilities.

Rob: Which is why Slaughterbeck is working with Harvey, all in an effort to be seen for more than blind.

Slaughterbeck: The biggest thing is just treat ‘em like you would any of your sighted friends. And if you would hold the door open for your friends, hold the door open; if you wouldn’t, don’t. You know, we’re not special people; we just want to be treated like people in general.

Rob: And while working in a sighted world can be difficult, breaking through stereotypes might be their biggest challenge.

Slaughterbeck: For myself, I know I learn from making mistakes. If people stop me from making a mistake, then the next time I’m more apt to make that same mistake again.

Rob: An attitude of self-reliance that employers like Kevin Hubble says inspires him every day.

Hubble: It’s not that hard. It’s not that scary. You’d be surprised most people really, can really shock you on that nature. Prove something, you know, that they can produce like everybody else, they can work like everyone, there’s no difference.