Summer Opportunities for Students
It might be hard to believe, but, summer 2020 is just around the corner. Many families and students are thinking about how best to use those summer days. SSB's Transition program has posted resources to help you plan. Summer Opportunities lists programs to help students build skills in independence, job search and exploration, and more. Summer Internship Opportunities lists programs that offer work experiences for students. As always, your SSB counselor, and our SSB Transition Team is here to help you to find the resources that are best for you. If you have a child who is blind, low vision, or DeafBlind between the ages of 14 and 21, and you aren't connected with SSB, contact our Transition Services Coordinator Sheila Koenig.
Learn About the Census and Commit to Be Counted
We Count. Minnesota is a collaboration of businesses, governments, non-profits, and community groups across the state. Its aim is to support a fair and accurate 2020 Census by educating Minnesotans about the importance of the census and promoting their participation in it. Full participation in the upcoming 2020 Census - making sure everyone is counted - will provide our communities with vital information about who we are and what we need. All of us must come together to ensure every Minnesotan counts. The data that will be collected by the 2020 Census are critical for counties and communities across our state. They will shape political representation, funding of government programs, the flow of business and commerce, and the planning and delivery of services to local communities. Historically, the census has missed certain groups - including young children, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and urban and rural low-income households - at disproportionately high rates. Being undercounted deprives communities of equal political representation and private and public resources. By signing this simple Commit to be Counted form you’ll get timely information about filling out your census form in the spring of 2020, and you’ll help build a strong Minnesota where everyone counts!
SSB's David Andrews Receives Award for Contributions to Accessibility in Minnesota
David Andrews, Chief Technology Officer at State Services for the Blind, received the 2019 Golden GOVIT Award for Individual Leadership. The Golden GOVIT Awards recognize government agencies and other public sector institutions that have advanced government technology through collaboration, innovation, service and individual leadership. The awards are presented in conjunction with the Government IT Symposium, an annual educational event that provides a natural forum to feature and celebrate the products, services, systems and solutions that improve government IT services and benefit citizens. The 2019 award recipients were announced during the Symposium on December 11, and all nominees were honored at an awards reception immediately following. Those nominating Dave cited his championing of technology that is accessible to all across state government. "Every day throughout his state government career, Dave has championed technology innovation, collaboration, and improvement of services." Prior to 2009, Dave dared to ask the question "why is the state buying inaccessible technology?" This question, along with a group of dedicated individuals, blazed a trail which led to:
- the passing of the State of Minnesota’s digital accessibility law,
- the hiring of the Chief Information Accessibility Officer, and
- the establishment of the Office of Accessibility.
You can read more about how Minnesota state employees are making accessibility mainstream in a post on the Accessibility Blog of Minnesota’s IT department.
People With Disabilities, At Work For Minnesota!
At SSB, we know firsthand that blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind Minnesotans are bringing skill, experience, talent, and dedication to Minnesota businesses. A recent opinion piece in the Star Tribune by Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove makes the business case for hiring Minnesotans with disabilities.
"There are lots of reasons employers are hiring people with disabilities, and all of them are helping improve their bottom line."
"People with disabilities have been solving problems their whole life," said disability programs coordinator Ken Rodgers of MnDOT, who is blind. "Bringing that mind-set to the workforce is incredibly valuable."
"Opportunities to improve your business while also improving access to opportunities for people who live with disabilities is a win-win. We encourage more and more businesses to take advantage of this unique workforce. With acute workforce shortages across our economy, now is the time."
Commissioner Grove includes some practical guidance and best practices. Read the full article.
What Would I Do, if I Couldn’t See?
Lots of us ask that question from time to time. The simple answer is that with a few new skills, you’d be going about your everyday life. Three short videos showcase Minnesotans who are blind, losing vision, or DeafBlind, doing just that.
"How Could I do This Job If I Can't See" (audio described) shows Minnesotans using high tech and low tech solutions at work. It’s a nice introduction for hiring managers who might be wondering if an applicant who is blind, low vision, or DeafBlind could indeed be the best person for a job.
"How Can I do It If I Can't See It" (audio described) speaks to the experience of seniors who are wondering how to live well with vision loss.
"How Can I Read It If I Can't See It" (audio described) is for everyone who loves reading and worries that vision loss, or another disability, might take away their ability to read. This video demonstrates how our Communication Center has become "Minnesota’s Accessible Reading Source."
Open Positions on the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
The State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) has open seats. Learn more about the council or apply directly on the Secretary of State's Open Positions page.