How Can Job Fairs Better Serve Blind applicants?
By Bob Branco
I would assume that every city and town holds frequent job fairs for unemployed people so that they can either network with employers, distribute credentials or find the right interview. I have participated in such job fairs, hoping to accomplish these goals, but at the end I found myself right back where I started, because I didn’t think I received the proper attention. I wasn’t looking for special attention during the job fair, just equal consideration.
On this particular subject, I think I have a lot more questions than I do answers. First of all, what does a blind person need to do in order to step on an even playing field with everyone else who attends a job fair? Second, can a supporting agency for the blind do more in order to accommodate a blind job applicant in these situations? I’m sure that when a job fair is announced in a given city, the regional Commission for the Blind serving the community in that city should find out about it. Third, what are the administrators of the job fair required to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Whether we like it or not, we, the blind, seem to have more to prove when looking for a job than anyone else. I have seen persons with cognitive disabilities get jobs faster than we do. I sometimes wonder if it’s because they have a better support team advocating for them. This is just speculation, but it’s open for discussion.
If I networked better at a job fair, I would attend more often. For now, these fairs discourage me based on my own personal experience.
I welcome your thoughts.