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[New post] Zoom Helps IFB Solutions Keep the Visually Impaired Employed, Learning & Connected During COVID-19

Email sent: May 21, 2020 6:35pm

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Colleen Rodriguez posted: "Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), founded to drive greater access to digital tools for people with disabilities, and Zoom plays an important role in providing that access for national nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest employer of peop"

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Zoom Helps IFB Solutions Keep the Visually Impaired Employed, Learning & Connected During COVID-19

by Colleen Rodriguez

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), founded to drive greater access to digital tools for people with disabilities, and Zoom plays an important role in providing that access for national nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the U.S.

IFB relies on Zoom and the platform’s accessibility features to keep the 450 visually impaired and blind children and adults in its nationwide program connected to their jobs, social outlets, training classes, support groups, and more. 

The National Federation of the Blind noted that in 2016, approximately 70% of blind and visually impaired adults were unemployed according to the Cornell University Disability Statistics website. COVID-19 has likely driven those numbers higher.

But just last week, IFB used Zoom to recruit 27 people who are blind or visually impaired for call center jobs. IFB will train these new employees via Zoom next week so they can start work in June. Other employees in IFB’s manufacturing facilities, eyeglasses labs, and call centers are using Zoom to work from home during the pandemic.

Additionally, IFB’s free SEE children’s program, which offers after-school enrichment and summer camps for K-12 students, relies on Zoom to bring together more than 200 children it serves for social hours, exercise, arts and crafts, and independence skills classes.

Mike Mote, manager of IFB’s Workforce Services, Accessibility and Workforce Development, reviews and selects assistive technology for the organization and its clients. He commends Zoom’s screen reader support, keyboard shortcuts, automatic transcripts, and overall ease of use for blind and visually impaired users.

“Zoom is the most user-friendly application we’ve ever had,” Mote said. “It makes things so easy for blind users. I can share my screen, turn my video on and off with the push of a keystroke, mute and unmute my microphone, and so much more.” 

“Putting one person to work is time-consuming with many phases of processing/onboarding, but Zoom is helping me be much more efficient with such a quickly demanding task to hire,” said Tevin Price, IFB Human Resources Representative/Recruiter. “I have never in my years with IFB had to onboard a mass number of employees in this manner. Zoom has made all the difference in enabling me to quickly process a large number of applicants, onboard them, and set them up for training.” 

Art Saunders lost his sight in 2000 due to glaucoma and eventually had to leave his career in customer service with a major telecommunications company. He joined IFB Solutions as a sewing machine operator and was named IFB’s Employee of the Year in 2010. He is a well-known leader in the blind community, avid bowler, and member of several adult meeting groups offered by IFB Solutions, including the Glaucoma Support Group, Assistive Technologies Group, and Toastmasters, all of which now meet via Zoom.

“Zoom is so easy to use,” Saunders said. “It’s so automated, and it means all of our employees, regardless of technical experience, can easily participate in our Zoom meetings.”

To learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day, visit the official GAAD website.

Zoom designs, develops, and tests our products with accessibility in mind so that all users can meet happy. Visit our dedicated webpage to learn more about Zoom’s accessibility features. 

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