New Oregon program helps people with visual impairments in the workplace
BORING, Ore. (KPTV) - A first-of-its-kind program in Oregon is helping make job interviews and starting a new career a little easier for people with visual impairments.
The goal of the program is to help young adults who are blind or have low vision prepare for the workforce using a guide dog. Participants spend one week at the Oregon campus learning career options, practicing job interview techniques, and getting a hands-on experience working and living with guide dogs.
This week, Alana Ambrosecchia, a college student from Long Island, New York, is replacing her white cane with a guide dog harness. First, taking a simulation walk without a dog, before moving on to the real deal.
“You want to keep a lot of tension in your hand when you’re following the instructor or the dog, whichever you’re doing,” Ambrosecchia said. “I’ve done a lot of research into what guide dog schools I wanted to look into because I’ve always been interested in having a guide dog.”
Jane Flower, Guide Dogs for the Blind’s youth outreach specialist, is a guide dog handler herself. She says using a guide dog is not necessarily for everyone and the learning curve is quite steep, but she says it opens up a new way to move around that can be smoother and less cumbersome than using a white cane.
Flower says guide dogs can enhance a handler’s work life, help bridge gaps socially, and boost confidence.
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