Express Employment Professionals Makes Testing Accessible to Blind Job Seekers

Baltimore, Maryland (July 11, 2018): Express Employment Professionals, a leading national staffing company, has committed to ensuring that its employee testing solutions can be used by blind and low-vision job seekers and employees. The decision was made after consultation with the National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people in the United States and a leading advocate for equal employment and digital accessibility. The commitment means that Express’ testing solutions will be usable by blind applicants who access computers and digital information with technologies like text-to-speech screen readers and/or Braille displays. Continue reading

United States Senate Greenlights Marrakesh Treaty and Implementing Legislation

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Senate Vote

Washington, DC (June 28, 2018): The United States Senate today provided its advice and consent for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The chamber also approved the treaty’s implementing legislation (S. 2559), which will make modest adjustments to US copyright law to fully comply with the treaty.

 “For more than six years, the National Federation of the Blind has worked tirelessly toward this historic day for the blind of America and the world,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We applaud the United States Senate for providing its advice and consent for ratification of the treaty, as well as for passing S. 2559, the ‘Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act’. We urge the US House of Representatives to join their Senate colleagues in swiftly passing S. 2559, so that the door to expanded literacy and access to the world’s knowledge will be unlocked for millions of blind Americans.”

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 About the National Federation of the Blind

 The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

The New Horizon Smart Glasses from Aira

These new glasses from Aira are a breakthrough for those of us that are visually impaired. State of the art technology.  As the Aira website points out “Aira is today’s fastest growing assistive community. One tap of a button instantly connects you with a sighted professional agent who delivers visual assistance anytime and anywhere.”  I use these glasses and absolutely love them! 

Day 12! Last Day – Going Home…

Alamo wearing a silver rhinestone tiara

Alamo wearing a silver rhinestone tiara

EXCITEMENT! We get to go out today! We’re sprung. No new snow.

So, we got up at the usual time and did the usual morning routine. At 7:30 we headed off to breakfast. Candace and crew were there to tell us that we would spend the day in Gresham!

At 8:15 we met, as usual, in the Fireplace room. This morning we went over the graduation procedure which is straight forward. Then we were given our binders with all the info about our new partners including medical records, puppy raiser notes and lots of other stuff we can discuss later.

At 9:10 we’re off to Gresham. The desire was to get as much work in since we had little chance earlier in the week and since this was our last day. Continue reading

Day 11!

Alamo on his bed with his paw holding his bone

Happy day! No snow last night. We did have a bit of a modified day, but much better than the past few days. Staff came in at 10AM so we got a bit of a late start.

At 9:30AM we met in the Fireplace room to go over the “theory test” Candace sent us yesterday. The purpose of the 20-question test was to see if we consistently answered any question incorrectly which would indicate that the instructors needed to go into more detail on a subject. Also, if many people throughout several classes missed a question then even more there would be an indication that something needed better coverage in the curriculum.

After going over the test we traveled again the route around the school. This time we had a terrific dog distraction awaiting us on our way to the Kennel kitchen. Nancy brought her 5-year old great Dane, Jeep, to try to distract us. There wasn’t much doubt of Jeep’s ability to distract. The only question was how difficult it would be to have our dogs regain their focus. Jeep loves to interact with other dogs and is quite energetic compared to many dogs. Alamo did well. After being distracted he refocused and was able to work past Jeep and go on his/our way. Good boy Alamo. Continue reading

Day 10!

Alamo next to Katie's snow dog

Alamo next to Katie’s snow dog

Isn’t the weather a wonderful thing? We had another modified day today due to the snow fall from Tuesday. The roads were simply not safe enough to drive and thus out door travel on sidewalks and such was out of the question. Now, some may say that only a few inches of snow shouldn’t be all that big of a problem. Well, for us with new guides and since some of us in class have little, if any, experience in walking through inclement conditions I think the decision was a good one. Besides, we did have some good adventures.

After breakfast, held at the usual time of 7:30, we met in the Fireplace room to discuss the day’s activities. Nancy, my instructor was stuck at home unable to get out. (See what I mean about the conditions?) We did spend a bit of time talking about her since we learned the day before that she had seven, count them, seven bars near her house. When Candace texted Nancy for us asking which bar, she planned on visiting first we did not get a substantive answer. Seriously, Nancy does live at a high enough elevation to warrant staying home. Continue reading

Day 9!

Class Picture taken in the snow.

Is this class lucky or what? It snowed again this morning. We expected snow tonight, but the weather pundits were off by twelve hours and we began getting snow at around 6AM this morning. We got enough by breakfast that the schedule again was thrown out the window. No travels to Portland or to Gresham. GDB leadership all the way to the top of the Oregon campus, Susan Armstrong, decided that it would not be safe to leave campus. For my part, I agree. Sidewalks were treacherous.

So, we stayed here and did a number of activities on campus. The first thing we did was to take a class photo. When I get it I will pass it along.

The next activity was a series of obedience games. Task one was to put our dogs in a sit-stay position and see how long they would stay without moving. The process was that we told our dogs to “heal” which meant, as you now know, to come around on our left sides and sit. We put our leashes into the long configuration and walked away from our pups while telling them to “stay. Continue reading

Day 8!

Mike and his new guide dog Alamo in front of the fireplace

Mike and his new guide dog Alamo in front of the fireplace

We did not get the four inches of snow everyone talked about yesterday. WE GOT SEVEN INCHES! This meant that many of the Guide Dogs staff were not able to come into work on time or at all today. For our parts as students, we were up at the regular time. Dogs were fed, watered and relieved by 7:30 when we went to breakfast. Our dedicated chef stayed the night and had another GREAT breakfast ready for us. Candace, our training supervisor, and Katie Anderson, one of our trainers, were at breakfast with us. The rest of the crowd of trainers were not present. Katie and Candace huddled at one table deciding upon our class schedule for the day. Laura, our ill class mate was feeling better and joined us. She joined us for dinner last evening and it was great to see her for two meals in a row. Continue reading

Day 7

Alamo laying down looking at a bug

I guess I really needed the sleep. I didn’t wake up until 7:30AM. So, I got a good ten hours of sleep. Alamo seemed not to be bothered by getting extra sleeping hours either. After rising, feeding and relieving Alamo we did sneak down and get a muffin

At 10 we hustled down to the dining room for a made-to-order omelet. WONDERFUL! Alamo and I then went back to the room and played for a half hour. Outside it was cold and the snow had begun to fall. Already there were rumblings about a modified class schedule for Monday, especially if some of the staff could not get into work. Continue reading

Day 6! Escalator Training…

Escalators Going Up

Escalators Going Up

OK! Let’s get the dirty stuff out of the way first. Remember how I described Puppy’s relieving habits as less than Stellar? Well, that now is a thing of the past. He is doing fine in the relieving arena thank you very much.

Now for more happy news. PUPPY’S NAME IS ALAMO! The word is out and so GDB agrees there is no need to keep names confidential, especially since both of Alamo’s puppy raisers and I have talked. Ceci and Andrea will both be traveling from Colorado Springs to see our graduation next Saturday. THAT’S GREEAT.

Today we travel to Portland. For me the plan is to do lots of escalator work at a mall. After a short lecture on building work it is off to Portland by 9AM. Of course, we first had a wonderful breakfast. By the way, I am not going to give you all the menus. Suffice it to say that GDB feeds us well, often and with more food than we really need, but who is complaining?

We arrive at the Portland Lounge around 9:45AM. The building is a converted gallery with space for meetings downstairs and good sitting room upstairs. Continue reading