Helen Keller National CenterNews

Joseph Melillo, National Employer & Business Relations Specialist at Helen Keller Services, featured on 103.9 LI NEWS Radio  

On the program, Joe and Scott discuss the Helen Keller National Center’s comprehensive vocational and rehabilitation program, success stories and more.

Joe Melillo and Scott Passeser smiling in front of a LI News Radio sign.

Joseph Melillo, Helen Keller Services National Employer & Business Relations Specialist, sat down with Scott Passeser on the Radio Jobline show for a special segment, which will airs June 28, at 9pm ET on 103.9 LI NewsRadio.

On the program, Joe and Scott discussed the Helen Keller National Center’s comprehensive vocational and rehabilitation program, success stories of participants in the workforce, and a call for the Long Island and national corporate business communities to engage with our organization for assessments, training and employment.

The full discussion is also available by podcast.

Please note, This transcript was created solely for communication access. It is not a certified legal transcript and may not be entirely verbatim.

Female voice: The views and opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of this station, JVC Broadcasting Management, or its sponsors.

[Upbeat music from the song Franklin’s Tower by Grateful Dead plays]

Male voice: And now it’s time for Radio Job Line with your host, Scott Passeser, right here on 103.9 LI News Radio.

Scott Passeser: Welcome everybody. It must be Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3 PM where it might be Wednesday night from 9 to 10 PM. We’re on twice a week to talk about your career, dissect the workforce, look at the job market, examine the talent pools, talk about the economy. We do so much here on Radio Job Line, and tonight we have a very interesting subject and an old friend is joining me on the radio station, a gentleman by the name of Joseph Melillo, who I actually worked with some years ago before he got into his new vocation. We’re gonna be talking about the Helen Keller Center and the national organization, the local organizations here on Long Island. People that are DeafBlind and blind, deaf, whatever, whatever the correct, is it deaf?

Joe Melillo: It’s DeafBlind.

Scott: DeafBlind, okay. And I’m gonna start this show with a story, Joe. I remember when I was about 10 years old. My parents tuned in and I sat there and watched with great attention a movie called The Miracle Worker. Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke as Helen Keller. And it was a frightening movie, and I’ll explain why. I was just a kid. There was some very dramatic music. They start the movie out, just a couple has a baby, and after a while they seem to notice the baby’s not hearing. And eventually this dramatic music builds up and the husband goes into the baby’s nursery, takes two pots, slams them together, and the baby doesn’t respond and is screaming and crying and fear and all this really bad emotion that I started feeling, you know, when I’m watching this. I was just a kid. And you see the terror in their eyes. And then you fast forward to Patty Duke, who plays Helen Keller, maybe at 15, 16 years old, and she’s walking around the dinner table taking food off everyone’s plate. So sort of out of control, you know, to show that she was somewhat out of control. And then, and in comes Anne Bancroft, who is the miracle worker, and she saves the day, and Helen Keller turns out to be what she turned out to be. But a really affecting movie that I never forgot, myself. Also, I was born with a hearing impairment, myself, and that just got rid, it was a fairly common thing to get rid of. But I kind of really have a sensitive part of me that is very interested in leveling the playing field in the workforce for anybody that has a disability, with any type of disability, but especially this, it just hits very close to home. So welcome to Radio Job Line.

Joseph: Nice to be here. Good to see you again.

Scott: Yes.

Joe: It’s been a while.

Scott: Now we worked together at Executive Alliance, and I knew you even before then, long before 20, 25 years ago, right? When you were with Dunhill or?

Joe: Yeah. It was executive recruiting industry. And you had Job Line on News 12.

Scott: Right, right. So I’m gonna read you some stuff about Joe.

Joe is the head of the of National Employment and Business Relations for the Helen Keller National Center. He spearheads the development of business partnerships to fast track Helen Keller job candidates for interviews and trains and advises 34 field services representatives throughout the country. Joe has extensive experience in recruiting, which I well know, including, as an international trainer and consultant and owned an executive recruiting franchise for 10 years. He made a shift into vocational services as Vice President of Goodwill Industries of New York and New Jersey, and his accomplishments included development of a 2 million staffing contract with Stony Brook campus and hospital. As an individual with a visible and not apparent disability, Joe provides career coaching for persons with disabilities and their families.

The parent organization Joe works for is Helen Keller Services located in Brooklyn. Helen Keller National Center, located in Sands Point, north of Port Washington, is one of two divisions under the Helen Keller Services umbrella. It was formed by an Act of Congress in 1968 and serves youth 16 and older, working age adults and seniors 55 and older with combined vision and hearing loss. The other division is Helen Keller Services for the Blind, which serves individuals who are blind or have low vision in the New York Metro area in Long Island. Helen Keller Services’ mission is to enable individuals who are blind, have low vision, or have a combination of hearing and vision loss to live, work, and thrive in communities of their choice. It is the only national organization dedicated to providing quality services to promote the quality of life for individuals who are deaf and blind.

You’re amongst friends here, Joe, we wanna level the playing field for everybody. Tell us in your own words what it’s been like working for the foundation.

Joe: It’s been eye opening and a fantastic experience. The barriers and obstacles that the individuals who are DeafBlind are able to navigate is incredible. The training that they receive at the center, which includes technology, communications, orientation and mobility, and independent living skills. As they progress through the program, they become really adept at all the above.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: However, we are a vocational services organization, so the ultimate goal is employment.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: So everything that they do with the other areas should help lead to employment in one way or another.

Scott: Okay. And we have the usual bias, Joe, that we deal with, with people in wheelchairs and it doesn’t really matter what the disability is, there’s a resistance. There’s a bias, there’s, I don’t know, discrimination, if that’s the right word? But I just feel like I wish people more open to this, and recognizing that these folks have such value to give and probably the hardest working people they’re gonna have in the organization, you know, because they know they’ve gotta try harder and work harder to be successful. But tell us about some of the personalities of these people. You know, we see them as people with disabilities, but I guess they don’t always see themselves that way.

Joe: Well, it’s interesting because once you’ve met one individual who’s DeafBlind

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: You’ve met one individual who’s DeafBlind.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: So they will have as wide a range of personalities as anyone, as the general public.

Scott: Right.

Joe: They can work in almost any position. Sometimes that requires accommodations.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: And the bias that you talk about. I mean, Helen Keller obviously was an unbelievable woman with great accomplishments. But when we speak to individuals and they think about Helen Keller, they think of an individual who is completely DeafBlind.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: And their belief is, or their understanding is, “boy, how could somebody possibly work who’s completely DeafBlind?”

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: And only a small percentage of the individuals who are DeafBlind are completely DeafBlind. But that doesn’t mean that they also aren’t successful on a job.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: Most individuals who are DeafBlind will have, you know, low vision. And deaf, that combination.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: They can be blind and be hard of hearing or they can be low vision and hard of hearing.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: So you have that combination and they’re all different and there’s different motivations, there’s different backgrounds, there’s different support systems that they have when they come to us. They come from all over the country. States send them to us for vocational rehabilitation, and we’re the only organization on a national basis that has a comprehensive program.

Scott: Right.

Joe: So they’ll come to us and they’ll be there anywhere from 12 weeks to a year, some even longer. And as I said, the ultimate goal is employment.

Scott: Right.

Joe: So our vocational services team, and we also have a community service program that focuses on employment for individuals in the New York, or the downstate really, New York region.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: Their training is done with businesses in the New York area and I would say, Nassau County is where our vocational services program will find partners.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: And we’re always looking for partners. We’re not looking for commitments, we’re just looking for conversations to determine with businesses, and maybe other organizations, how we might be able to work together to help assess our candidates for services or for training and even work in the workplace with our assistance. And we would have job coaches or individuals, employment specialists really, work with them. And we have a fantastic group of employment specialists in our vocational services department and actually throughout the organization. It’s not unusual for an individual who’s DeafBlind who comes through our program to go through training and really be productive in that organization. We have a computer recycling center that we work with. And of course I don’t know how much, but their revenue has had to increase quite a bit because we have a number of folks going over there and helping them with the recycling of the computers.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: So it’s about productivity.

Scott: Right.

Joe: Right. And individuals who are DeafBlind have to be productive. And there shouldn’t be any exceptions to the rule of, of being productive, being dedicated, and even being qualified, of course.

Scott: So just like the rest of us, Joe, they wanna work, right? They want to contribute, they want to feel that satisfaction of giving.

Joe: Absolutely.

Scott: And there was an interesting thing you sent me about Accenture. “According to a survey by the highly respected consulting firm Accenture, companies that have effective disability inclusion and hiring programs achieve more revenue” — now that oughta capture some attention — “achieve more revenue, and profit margins than those that don’t.” So I’m not sure how those numbers have arrived at, but I’m really pleased to hear that. Why do you think that is?

Joe: Because the organization is being more inclusive and open to different styles, different outlook, and is being more creative.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: Because individuals with disabilities, they have to overcome and deal with more than individuals without disabilities.

Scott: Right.

Joe: So there are many soft skills that an individual or person with disability gains and has that an individual who doesn’t have a disability. Well, they don’t have it as much, so especially individuals who are DeafBlind, by their very experience. They’re more perseverant, they’re more creative. They deal with failure better. They work better as a team.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: And last year I was on a call with a high-level person in the National Department of Labor and somebody asked, “What are hiring officials looking for? What do they need these days? What’s motivating them the most in job postings and so on?” And I think a ton of people expected, you know, computer analysts, coders, financial analysts, and the like. And it was very interesting that she responded, “They’re looking for individuals who are reliable, persevering, able to deal with failure, creative, team players, and all of that.”

Scott: Enthusiastic.

Joe: Right!

Scott: Collaborative.

Joe: Right. And I was like, check, check, check, check. And all of those boxes for the individuals who are DeafBlind and of course, it’s true for many persons with disabilities overall.

Scott: Just to show the listeners just what we’re talking about here, Joe. One in four Americans has a disability.

Joe: Yes.

Scott: Now, let’s think about that for a minute. That is 80 million Americans.

Joe: Right.

Scott: It’s hard to believe.

Joe: I know.

Scott: So if you grew up in a family where no one has a disability, don’t have any friends with disabilities, and you’re sort of isolated from the truth. And the truth is that one in four people have some kind of disability. We’ve had every organization on these radio television shows I’ve been doing all these years to try to level the playing field. And you know, they all have job coaches and they all work so hard to get these people into the workforce. And that’s why I really liked your stat with Accenture because it seems to me that if you’re going to go out of your way to hire people that already have a disability, then you are a thinking company. You are a progressive company, you know. And it’s no wonder they make more money, that they’re doing well, because they’re thinking, they’re giving back, Joe. So if I’m a candidate and I’m going on a job interview to a company that does this, that employs people from the Helen Keller Services, right, and I’m gonna say, “Well, you know what? That’s pretty cool that they do that, and I would like to work for a company like that!”

Joe: Absolutely.

Scott: So I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why they make more money.

Joe: Yes. Yeah. There’s a strong business case for hiring persons with disabilities, and we’ve seen it with our candidates, you know, the individuals who are DeafBlind. It’s actually a business imperative now for organizations to hire persons with disabilities and have a strong inclusion program.

Scott: Let’s talk a little bit about the ADA. I’m hoping that you’re gonna tell me that the ADA has made a huge difference, right? It was way back in the nineties. And I remember when it came out, cause I was on Job Line on TV when it came out. I started in 1989. So we did a whole couple of shows on it. I remember everybody was so optimistic that it was gonna make such a huge difference and so on. Has it helped as much as I hope it did?

Joe: I don’t really know exactly how much you hoped it did. But it hasn’t had the positive effect as many had expected when it came out. And it was a great accomplishment to get it through. And I actually have a relationship with the individual who was a chief advocate for the ADA and help write the legislation. So there’s certainly been a positive effect, but, I’ve seen over the last several years that it’s really become more of an interest for organizations and even for legislators. And one of the things that’s happened recently is that accessibility has become front and center. And one of the reasons why that is, is because of website accessibility and technology.

Scott: This is very interesting. Can you give the examples you were giving me in the green room? Domino’s?

Joe: Oh, oh, oh. Right. So there are two examples of organizations that didn’t have their websites accessible. First was Domino’s. There was an individual with low vision who was trying to order both through the website and the app. And he went back and forth with the organization to see what they could do to make it accessible, and lo and behold, Domino’s just threw up their hands and they said, “You know, there’s nothing we can do.” So he sued, and the chief reason why Domino’s said that it didn’t apply for them, they said, “The ADA doesn’t apply to websites.” First of all, it’s a bad business decision to go against the ADA, period. But the court ruled that it does apply to websites. So the floodgates have really opened in a way. You know, there’s disability website accessibility ambulance chasers in a way. It’s kind of opened it up and you hate to see it in a way cuz you prefer the carrot, which is the business imperative, rather than the stick. And actually there are judges who are getting these cases and I learned recently that some of the judges are getting tired of receiving these and they’re telling the organizations, you know, to get their act together. But it’s gotta be more from a positive standpoint.

Scott: You know, I’ve been seeing a lot more, Joe. I’m in charge of the website at my company and I’m seeing a lot more attention being paid to disabled access to these websites. Everything is online today. The world has moved online. So as the world has moved online in the last 30 years, people should be making websites that are, remember there’s 80 million people we just figured out that have some sort of disability that maybe can’t use the website.

Joe: Right. So, in 2022, 26% of employees worked remotely. And 16% of companies are completely remote.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: So that’s necessitated websites and software to be much more accessible.

Scott: Right.

Joe: Companies are spending 10 billion dollars this year to vendors and other software companies to become website accessible.

Scott: I think it’s about time. You’re listening to Radio Job Line with Scott Passeser. We have my old friend, Joe Melillo on the program today talking about the National Employment and Business Relations Head for Helen Keller, and I’m honored to have him here on the show, and this is a fabulous topic. I’ll be posting it after it airs on the radio program. If you have an idea for Radio Job Line and would like to be on the show, you can contact me, ScottP118@gmail.com. Happy to have you or your idea on the phone, on the show, I should say, especially if it’s a subject like this, very sensitive and very important to a lot of people in this country. We’ve got a news break coming up. We have a lot more coming up with Joe Melillo. Stay with us everybody. We’ll be right back.

[Upbeat music from the song Franklin’s Tower by Grateful Dead plays]

Male voice: And now, welcome back to Radio Job Line with your host, Scott Passeser, right here on LI News Radio.

Scott: Welcome back everybody listening to Radio Job Line with Scott Passeser. We’re talking to the head of National Employment and Business Relations for Helen Keller National Center here on Radio Job Line today. We already made a case earlier that there are 80 million Americans with a disability. DeafBlind is a pretty intense disability that has to be job coaching and great services that you guys provide to get people into the workforce. That’s the whole big deal is getting people to work just like anybody that doesn’t have a disability. We all wanna work. We all fail. We all have success. We all miss sometimes. So I’m hoping that this is gonna open some doors for you, Joe, here on Long Island anyway.

Joe: Me too.

Scott: So let’s make a pitch to people to wise up and get involved in this. We already proved that more companies make more money when they have disabled people on their payroll.

Joe: Yes.

Scott: So it’s a great thing. I’m very curious about the jobs that people do and you said you have a couple of case studies for us.

Joe: Yes. Well, first of all, as I mentioned before, an individual who’s DeafBlind can do almost any job. There’s certainly ones that people could think of and that we’ve experienced that’d be more of a challenge, but they’re more capable than folks think. And also with the right accommodations, they can thrive in a role. But you know, I have a couple of different stories. They’re so wide ranging and there’s different hurdles and barriers that the individuals have gone through and really as I mentioned before, about some of those soft skills that hiring officials are looking for. These individuals really exemplified. And one situation that I’m thinking of is that there was a woman in Connecticut who was working for a financial institution and she was losing her vision and her hearing which is just one of the ways that an individual can become DeafBlind. We could share with you, people contact the organization as to some of the others and so on. But, she was losing her vision and hearing. And she was having trouble coming to grips with it. And the Connecticut Vocational Services Department interviewed us quite a bit, three or four times to see if we’d be able to work with her, which actually is a bit much. It’s rare. But we started working with her. And she had so many self-limiting beliefs. She was really down on herself. She was upset, obviously, about the vision and hearing loss, and she was thinking of reasons why she couldn’t do something rather than ways that she could, and this was coming through in her interviews. And it was clear, she was quite often not in getting any feedback, and you and I hate it, it shouldn’t be not getting any feedback. But we made an educated guess as to what it was. So there were regional representative in Connecticut and some vocational services folks with us and myself that worked with her, talked with her about some of the accommodations, but also really focused on her abilities rather than the disability, and also encouraged her to share with a hiring official what this has helped make her as a financial analyst and a person and somebody who has a life story and life experience unlike most people. So she started sharing that in her interviewing because she still had vision and she still had hearing, and she was not checking the disability box in the applications. So she started to feel more confident that she could disclose. And of course the hiring official asked what accommodations you need and she got into her story. And she got three offers. And she actually was confident enough to play those offers off each other and got a $10,000 increase.

Scott: Oh, that’s what I like to hear.

Joe: Yeah.

Scott: I’m sure you had something to do with that. [Laughs]

Joe: Just a touch.

Scott: Right.

Joe: And there’s so many other people in the organization that just do an excellent job and are so dedicated. We have 34 field services representatives, DeafBlind employment specialists in certain states—and some of them have multiple states that they work in—and regional representatives that are hustling all the time to see how they can serve individuals who are DeafBlind, and not necessarily sending them to the center; they’ll work with them, you know, out in the field. So we can’t really get somebody employed unless you have the boots on the ground. I can develop relationships with a lot of companies and get opportunities, but unless they’re working with them at home, then you’re not gonna be able to make a placement or to be able to support.

Scott: Did all of this remote transfer have a positive impact? Because more people are working from home. So if a person who’s DeafBlind maybe can’t drive, you know, can’t get to work that way, maybe they could just do work from home. I mean, everybody else is doing it.

Joe: Yeah. So first off, the remote work was very helpful in our training. We made a fantastic pivot as an organization. On March 20th of 2020, we were off for a week. I’m sure the executives weren’t, of course, in the organization. And we began to think, “How are we gonna serve the individuals? How are we gonna train them and how are we gonna have the interaction? How are we gonna have focus groups?” And we developed more programs actually on a remote basis and I looked at my job and I was like, “Okay, National Employment and Business Relations Specialist. Well, nobody’s hiring, and there’s not a lot of business relations here, so have to be creative.”

Scott: Right.

Joe: And working with a strong team back in the center and in the field, we were able to develop more programs and continue to serve them. So we continue with some of that remote work and the individuals that work with us, they may be more qualified for a remote phone type position or a customer service type of role. They can work a program position or a financial analyst position from home. The woman that I spoke about before, she’s working remotely.

Another fantastic story is an individual who had a computer science degree. She was deaf and she was also losing her vision and she was a strong coder and she went to have an internship here and was very successful at it, and then went home and was interviewing and applying to many jobs and she wasn’t getting them. She kept picking herself up from the mat and going forward, and she found an opportunity with Booz Allen Hamilton. And they recognized her talent. And she demonstrated that she could be a fantastic coder for them, and she is working remotely now with them. And last I checked, that she’s doing an outstanding job.

Scott: So let’s just be clear. Remind people that you can qualify for Helen Keller Services, but you don’t have to be completely blind and completely deaf. You can have a little bit of hearing and a little bit of vision. Having glaucoma myself, sometimes when I take my glasses off and I close my good eye, I can’t see anything. It’s just a mess of nothing.

Joe: Right, right.

Scott: But I said to myself, if I ever wanted to watch a ball game—and you know, everybody knows I’m a big Yankee fan—and with only my bad eye, I would still do it. Because first of all, I can hear it, you know? But I can also see a little bit of what’s going on, and that’s just enough, you know, to feel like I’m part of the game and so on. So I think people have to recognize that you can have these problems and issues, but you can still see a little bit and you can still hear a little bit.

Joe: Well, there’s that, but there’s also individuals who are completely blind who have more ability and more interest in other sensory stimulation. I’m thinking of a young woman who came to us completely blind, and she loved baseball. From St. Louis. And she had a great relationship with Molina, the catcher, who has been there forever.

Scott: Bengie, Bengie Molina?

Joe: Yes.

Scott: Right. 

Joe: She would go into the clubhouse with him. And she would attend games and she loved listening to the games. We had her here. And we had an evaluator here—who was fantastic and moved on to another area within the organization—who took her to Yankee Stadium. And she felt the statue of Yogi Berra. And she was ecstatic. We were ecstatic because she was ecstatic. And she is going to school now, but she also has a side accessibility business. And I was encouraging her and working with her to get some informational interviews. I said, “Well, let’s see what we can do with the St. Louis Cardinals. Who was the individual in the organization at the highest level that you know?” And she said, “The owner.” [There is laughter between Joe and Scott.] I said, “Okay. That’s a great place to start.”

Scott: Start there!

Joe: Right. The individuals can have the low vision and the hard of hearing, and some of them come to us and they’ve never been comfortable sharing that because if they do have some vision and they are hard of hearing, they may have hearing aids and so on, but you know, it’s hidden and they just don’t want to disclose it.

Scott: Yeah.

Joe: So, you know-

Scott: I’m just gonna interrupt you for a second and ask you a quick question. I remember braille. Do people still use braille?

Joe: Oh, absolutely.

Scott: So it’s still a steadfast method for people to read that have a visual impairment.

Joe: Absolutely. And there’s some great technologies out there.

Scott: Which we’re gonna do a separate show on, Joe. I want you to get back to me, bring me an expert on how the world of technology has positively impacted this community.

Joe: Absolutely.

Scott: I mean, there are people I know that wear hearing aids. Look at what they do today with cataract surgery. It’s a snap of a finger, it’s over with. There’s so much technology though that’s—you see these things on TV! Like a deaf person where the words are transcribed instantly.

Joe: Captions, yeah.

Scott: Yeah. Captions, closed captioning on TV, of course. That’s huge. That lets everybody in on the same level playing field, but we wanna talk about technology some other time.  

Joe: Yeah. One of the things I wanted to touch on is that there are some technologies that are now part of universal design.

Scott: Mm-hmm.

Joe: Right? Curb cutouts for individuals with disabilities. Could you imagine a woman with a baby carriage? Or someone with wheelchair being able to get over a curb without the curb cutout? No. Interestingly enough, cruise control was partially invented by an individual who was blind.

Scott: Hmm!

Joe: And the reason why he decided that he wanted to invent it is that he knew his driver was going too fast.

Scott: Hmm!

Joe: And so that was something that helped him that he designed for himself has now become universal design. So there’s a lot examples of that. And that’s one of the reasons why organizations need to hire individuals with disabilities, hire individuals who are DeafBlind, because they look at things differently, they figure out how they’re going to move about the world, be successful, and that brings about innovation and creativity. And that’s why the organizations that hire them are making so much more money and have higher net income.

Scott: All right, let’s go back to that. So what are some of the best practices of the progressive companies regarding inclusion and hiring?

Joe: Well, there’s a couple organizations that we work with that have been pretty steady in their disability inclusion and hiring programs. CVS is an example of an organization that we’ve worked with and we’ve had a lot of hires through them. They have individuals who are workforce initiative advisors and managers throughout the country. So they develop relationships with organizations like ours and help fast track the candidates for interviews, work with the managers, to ensure that the individual is getting the accommodations they need. And give us a little bit of a leg up, and the candidates the support and encouragement that they need.

There’s another organization by the name of Sodexo. Sodexo is the largest facilities management and food services management company in the world. They have a similar type program. And anytime we find a candidate, we’re to reach out to the DEI&A professionals to fast track the process. As a matter of fact, there’s a candidate that’s gonna be going home very soon from the center. And he got his food handler certificate. And he’s worked hard in the kitchen at HKNC as well as another offsite restaurant. So I’m gonna be working with the California office to get him going with Sodexo in one of their locations. And hopefully other places. Somebody went home to California a couple months ago and he’s working at a Chili’s. He loves it. He’s got a promotion, they love him. And so, you know, those are the type of things that we’re looking to help people accomplish, but it’s all about empowering them. And we empower them through the whole program. It’s their program. So we certainly do have some standards and they need to attend the classes and so on, but the decisions they make, the career decisions, the interviewing decisions, they’re made by them and we’re there to support them.

Scott: Yeah, I can just see so many careers, like because you mentioned customer service before. You know, are you tired of listening to people who barely speak English doing customer service? I would rather have a person with a disability, even if I have to take a few extra seconds to wait for my answer, so there are just certain job markets that I think really fit beautifully with this. And by the way, did that woman ever work for the Cardinals? Did she get a job with the Cardinals?

Joe: No, but what was interesting, she did a little bit of an accessibility study and they made changes. She made some recommendations and they made changes.

Scott: Right.

Joe: And she didn’t get paid for it.

Scott: Right.

Joe: It was kind of, you know, gratis-

Scott: But it goes on the resume!

Joe: Right. However, she was referred to Major League baseball. Last I heard she was just talking to them about doing some accessibility studies or so on with them. But that’s the type of things that happens. It just branches out and back at the center, we teach them how to network, informational interviews, look at LinkedIn and you know, we’re strong with what we do, but the second best business relationship developers at home is the family.

Scott: Yeah. Joe, we don’t have much time left, but I want you to first give the website so people can look at all the services that your organization provides.

Joe: Yes. So, the website is Helenkeller.org. And you’ll see there’s some options to see more about Helen Keller Services for the Blind. We haven’t touched on them too much, cuz I work for HKNC, but they’re a sister company. There’s a lot of interaction. We work closely together. There is a program that was just started at Helen Keller Services for the Blind that is a website testing program. So if there’s an organization out there that wants to have their website tested, let us know. If there’s an individual who’s blind and low vision and wants to talk to the New York State Commission for the Blind and be part of our program, let us know. We also have a program that’s just really kicking off, which is Feeling Through Studio. It’s a platform for employers and educators, colleges, universities, and schools that is live video curriculum that will really help focus on the accomplishments.

Scott: Okay and they can access all that from the website?

Joe: Yes.

Scott: Okay. And, and it’s Helenkeller.org.

Joe: Helenkeller.org. Yep.

Scott: Okay. Joe, we could have done another hour, we’re running at a time. I’m sorry. We gotta go. You’ve been listening to Radio Job Line with Scott Passeser. If you have an idea, write to me, ScottP118@gmail.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Have a great week everybody. Happy hunting.

[Upbeat music from the song Franklin’s Tower by Grateful Dead plays for 4 seconds]

Female voice: The views and opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of this station, JVC Broadcasting Management, or its sponsors.

[End of Transcript]

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