By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
NewView Oklahoma was recently honored by National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, with the 2015 Employment Growth Award.
The award recognizes NewView Oklahoma’s efforts to increase employment retention, growth and upward mobility for people who are blind.
NewView is the leading employer of the blind and visually impaired in Oklahoma. The organization provides jobs through in-house manufacturing and a growing number of service contracts with major employers at the local, state and federal levels.
“With unemployment among individuals who are blind and visually impaired above 70 percent, NewView Oklahoma strives to provide gainful employment that brings hope and independence to someone’s life,” said Lauren Branch, NewView Oklahoma President and CEO.
“Our employees are the happiest and most hard working individuals you will meet, and we are delighted that they are being recognized as an example of the capabilities of people who are blind.”
Employment Growth Award recipients receive a cash payment from a fund created to recognize and encourage NIB associated nonprofit agencies that grow or sustain employment for people who are blind. Emphasis is placed on efforts to increase upward mobility in the workplace and job placements.
“It is an honor for me to recognize NewView Oklahoma with a 2015 Employment Growth Award,” said Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of NIB. “NewView Oklahoma continues to lead the way in creating employment and high-growth career opportunities for people who are blind.”
Founded in 1938, NIB and its network of associated nonprofit agencies are the nation’s largest employer of people who are blind through the sale of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services provided by the AbilityOne® Program, established by the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act.
The AbilityOne Program is the largest source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States. More than 550 nonprofit organizations employ these individuals and provide quality products and services to the Federal Government at a fair market price.
February is Low Vision Awareness Month. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) there are currently, 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older who are visually impaired. By 2030, this number is projected to reach 7.2 million, with 5 million having low vision.
Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery. However, vision rehabilitation can help people with vision loss to maximize their remaining vision and maintain their independence and quality of life by teaching them how to safely move around their homes; continue to do daily activities; and find resources and devices and support.
Founded in 1948, NewView OK is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to empower people who are blind and visually impaired to achieve their maximum level of independence through employment, low vision rehabilitation, and community outreach.
With two locations – 710 W. Wilshire in Oklahoma City and 61st Street and Yale Avenue in Tulsa – NewView offers the only comprehensive Low Vision Clinics in the state.
These state-of-the-art facilities help to meet the needs of elderly, veterans, children and other patients dealing with decreased vision.
The Clinics offer assessments, routine care and low vision solutions and devices to people with impaired vision that cannot be corrected with glasses, surgery or medication.
On Wednesday, February 24, the NewView OK Envision the Future Luncheon will held from 12 – 1 p.m. at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, 4040 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City.
The public is invited to this free event to learn more about NewView’s life-changing programs and services, and hear testimonials from clients and staff members. Special guests will be the Ivy Family, including brother Kyle and Mark. To participate, RSVP to Valerie at [email protected]
For more information, visit www.newviewoklahoma.org.