Disability and Employment Awareness Month

26 Oct 2017

October is Disability and Employment Awareness Month. It’s a great opportunity to consider what job seekers with disabilities bring to the table. Linda Jenkins worked with DEED’s State Services for the Blind to launch her career in human resources.

Is That For Me?

“Is that for me?” Linda asked as she waited for her fiancé to return from work and read the computer screen to her. Linda was losing her vision, and she didn’t know what to do, or where to turn for help. “I moped around and cried every day, while life passed me by,” she recalled.

Thinking there has to be something out there for blind people, Linda found SSB through a Google search, but her eyes got too tired before she could read any of the details.

Linda had been a hard worker all of her life, but facing the loss of her vision, the kinds of jobs she had in production were no longer viable. After reading about SSB with her fiancé, she got an appointment to meet with Brianna Mehr, a job counselor in SSB’s Workforce Development section. As she talked with Brianna, Linda found herself weeping again. She had never needed any help from anyone, and she had always been committed to working hard and making her own way in the world.

“You’re in the right place,” Brianna told her. “We can help you.”

Working with SSB

The long road ahead would require determination, but determination was core to Linda’s character. She began with intensive training in adjustment to vision loss at Vision Loss Resources, a Twin Cities training center. There, through conversation with a technology instructor, she realized she had an interest in human resources – helping others in their jobs. That led to an internship and degree program. Intent on finding a job, Linda pushed to finish her schooling as quickly as she could. “A staff person at school was concerned about my course load because of my vision,” Linda recalls. “But I knew what I could do, and I just challenged myself to do it.”

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