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ERIC Number: EJ1142757
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0145-482X
Reflections on Developing an Employment Mentoring Program for College Students Who Are Blind
O'Mally, Jamie; Steverson, Anne
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, v111 n3 p271-276 May-Jun 2017
In a competitive employment climate, college graduates with visual impairments (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) face challenges securing work. Employment barriers among visually impaired individuals include: limited early work experience, negative employer attitudes, transportation issues, lack of exposure to successful role models, underdeveloped blindness skills, and low confidence in the ability to perform workrelated tasks (Coffey, Coufopoulos, & Kinghom, 2014; Crudden & McBroom, 1999; Mc- Donnall & O'Mally, 2012; McDonnall, Zhou, & Crudden, 2013). Students with visual impairments may also have unrealistic expectations for finding employment. The authors surveyed a nationally representative group of service providers and directors of state agencies (N = 87), and more than one-third of respondents (34%) believed that college students with vision loss are too optimistic about finding jobs after graduating (O'Mally, 2014). This article describes how the authors designed, implemented, and evaluated a mentoring program specifically for college students who are legally blind and are seeking employment after graduation. A national longitudinal study was conducted to evaluate the impact of mentoring on employment outcomes using standardized procedures (O'Mally & Antonelli, 2016). Students were randomly assigned to either work with a mentor for one year or to receive traditional career resources. To standardize the study, they used specific eligibility criteria and a limited time frame, and provided suggestions for activities and discussion topics. The purpose of this article is to present reflections and resources used in designing a mentoring program for college students with visual impairments. It presents the demographics of participants; suggestions for recruitment and staffing; challenges in matching students with mentors, resources, and orientation materials; and practical applications.
American Foundation for the Blind. 11 Penn Plaza Suite 300, New York, NY 10001. Tel: 800-232-5463; Tel: 212-502-7600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: US Department of Health and Human Services
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 90RT50110100