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Bosma aims to improve employment rates for Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana employers looking to fill empty positions are being asked to consider Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired. Bosma Enterprises has partnered with a Carmel based company to bring more employees on board.

Unemployment rates for Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired sits just above 60 percent. Bosma representatives say they have taken on a new approach to hiring, allowing their clients to become the interviewer in what they are calling a “reverse job fair.”

There’s an independence you feel when you can work and provide for yourself. A growing number of Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired miss out on the opportunity.

“It’s not about what the person cannot do. Instead, the mindset has to be what can they do or how could they do it,” Bosma adult and youth employment services manager, Kristy Russell, said.

The company is working directly with clients and other companies to bring them together, all while working to break down the stigma around what someone with vision loss can do.

“What we find is a lot of companies or HR professionals have a hard time seeing how someone with vision loss can function in their current work environment,” she said.

One way they do that is through a reverse job fair. Clients who are ready to work are seated, and employers come to them. David Glenn, President and CEO of the Carmel based company CoasterStone has welcomed a few new employees.

“I already know they are visually impaired so that kind of breaks the ice and they can just talk to me,” Glenn said.

Accommodations and assisted technology can help, but often it’s a matter of understanding the same job can be done in different ways.

Saying this is one way to change mindsets, not only at the top of a company, but have it trickle down to hiring managers.

“I urge small business owners’ (and) large business owners to say yes. Hear the stories. See what they can do,” he said.