Tulsa world hires first visually impaired employees
NewView clients Sumpa Akhter, Justin Eagle, and Trey Lewis began their employment at the Tulsa World on Oct. 31st, as part of a project with NewView Oklahoma and the Tulsa World to expand employment opportunities for individuals with visual impairment.
All three are recent college graduates working in the call center as direct employees of the Tulsa World – Sumpa from Tulsa University, Justin from Tulsa Community College, and Trey from the University of Central Oklahoma.
“This is a great success story for three individuals who pursued their educational goals, excelled in school, and were then offered gainful employment in their community,” Cathy Holden, Senior VP of Rehabilitation and Clinical Operations at NewView, said.
NewView worked with the Tulsa World to make the call center accessible and provided training and installation of accessibility software. They also provided blindness-sensitive training to hundreds of employees at Tulsa World in the process.
“This is the first time that NewView has outsourced employment to a large organization in the community,” Holden said. “The goal is to continue this program with other organizations to open employment opportunities for those who are blind or vision impaired.”
Now that the software is on their system, any job is accessible, and the Tulsa World intends to add additional jobs within their call center for persons with visual impairment and possibly other areas of the organization.
While Sumpa and Justin are from the Tulsa area, Trey relocated for this job and is currently living in housing provided by Tulsa World for persons with disabilities that is connected to the building. Transportation can be one of the biggest barriers to employment for blind and visually impaired individuals, so these accommodations help in ease of commute, as well as a cost-savings.
“This job is the chance to show my potential – where I feel like I’m truly employable and have opportunities to move up in the company,” Trey said. “It has been challenging, but they have been so willing to work with us, going out of their way to make us feel like ‘regular’ employees.”