Bud Keith Fund
In September of 2014, the Bud Keith Fund sponsored a career seminar aimed at helping blind students understand the challenges that employment presents and to get advice from other blind people who have succeeded in overcoming those challenges.
Here are some of the highlights:
Demetrio Chen, a very successful salesman of telecommunication equipment, described his use of assistive technologies in his work but pointed out the value of forming close personal relationships, dressing well, and labeling files and documents in Braille.
Ted Henter, a software entrepreneur who developed the JAWS screen reader, told the stories of ten blind people around the world who are successfully employed. All use assistive technologies, including screen readers.
Fausto Pérez, sociology professor at the University of Panama, urged the students to select jobs that they could perform without sighted helpers. Not only does the involvement of a helper ruin the economics of hiring a blind person, but it encourages people to treat the blind as weak and dependent. He stated that mastery of both Braille and computers is necessary in most careers, as is a university education.
Arlin Barrios, an attorney, reiterated the need for JAWS and computer skills as well as careful assessment of whether a particular career is a good fit for a blind person.