Bud Keith Fund
On the Job Training
Since 2015, we've provided people with on-the-job training to help them retain their jobs or advance. So far, it's all been computer training. The goals are not just to improve the income of the trainees but also to add to the meager ranks of productive blind people in Panama, pioneers in the workplace who may inspire and open doors for the students we sponsor.
Getting an employer to hire a blind person is hard; it's easier to convince employers to retain skilled employees who have become visually impaired after they have proven to be productive workers. Several of the training sessions were requested by employers who did not want to lose employees with failing eyesight.
Meet the people we've trained recently:
Gustavo Quintero was a supervisor at the Banco Nacional de Panamá when diabetes took his vision. The Patronato provided him with mobility and computer training in hope of enabling him to retain his job. Because of his work schedule, he wasn't able to attend computer classes during the day, so we funded training outside normal work hours. As a result, the bank kept him employed.
Gustavo performed so well after his 2017 training that Banco Nacional asked the Patronato to provide additional training that would enable him to handle more responsibility. We paid for that additional help, which enables him to use the bank's special software to review and approve loans.
Everest Grazet works for the giant chicken and egg producer Toledano. When deteriorating vision precluded him from doing his job, we arranged for computer training. Some of that training was at his office where we installed screen-reading software. Because of his new computer skills, the company transferred him to an inventory management position instead of laying him off.
Ariadna Españo, Ingrid Olivares, and Ámbar Valdes work in separate businesses. Because all three recently lost their sight and all had minimal computer skills, they received computer training together at the Patronato’s center and then received separate training at their work locations. Ariadna is a psychologist with a private practice who also teaches a university class. Ingrid is also a psychologist but works at a foundation. She is receiving psychological help herself (from the Patronato’s psychologist) because she unexpectedly lost her sight due to medical malpractice. Ámbar is an administrative employee at a private company. In addition to the computer training, the Patronato provided them with mobility training (supported by the Bud Keith Fund) and training in such practical matters as food preparation and use of electronic devices. Because of the computer training, all three women have continued working despite losing their vision.
Glorieta Raymore is a receptionist at a clinic for employees of the Ministry of Economy and Finanace. The clinic started computerizing its medical records and scheduling, so Glorieta had to learn to use the new system in order to keep her job. With the computer training and software we provided, she succeeded.
Erika Cortés is a telephone operator at the Radisson Hotel. In addition to developing Erika’s computer skills, the Patronato staff worked with the Radisson staff to make her computer interface more “blind-friendly”. She’s also received mobility training at the Patronato.
Edgar Basso is an attorney whose deteriorating vision prevented him from using the computer. The Patronato staff taught him to use the JAWS screen reader and to prepare legal documents with the specialized software his law firm uses.
Mariscal Batista used handwritten records to maintain the inventory at his family’s small business. Because of deteriorating vision, he could no longer do that work. The Patronato is teaching him to keep the inventory on a computer, enabling him to return to work. Once he has his income back, he hopes to take courses that will enable him to become a teacher.