By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Teens who are blind and vision impaired are participating in NewView Oklahoma’s Keys to Work Transition Institute for one week in Oklahoma City. Students participating in the program will learn independent living and job-readiness skills while interacting with leaders from the Oklahoma City community.
The Oklahoma City Keys to Work Institute began Wednesday, June 13 and runs through Wednesday, June 20 with a special graduation service and celebration Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Keys to Work is a collaboration between NewView Oklahoma and other statewide agencies to provide comprehensive services including occupational therapy, orientation and mobility, and assistive technology. The curriculum is designed to prepare young adults with blindness or vision impairment as their primary disability for college and employment.
“The Keys to Work Transition Institute was established to equip our students with job-readiness skills to lay a solid groundwork as they enter the professional world,” said Lauren Branch, president and CEO of NewView Oklahoma. “By participating in our program, teens will gain the skills necessary to assist them on their career journey and they will know how to advocate for themselves in a competitive job market.”
Keys to Work provides hands on experience with the latest assistive technology, teaches resume building, interview skills, self-advocacy and offers networking opportunities with professionals in the Oklahoma City market. Students will also learn independent living skills including cooking, cleaning, organization and independent travel. Upon completing the program, students have the skills and an individualized plan that will serve as a road map for future success.
“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,” Branch said.
“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.”
NewView offers the only comprehensive Low Vision Clinics in the state with a location in Oklahoma City at 710 W. Wilshire Blvd., and at 61st & Yale Avenue in Tulsa.
On June 21, from 10 – 11:30 a.m., NewView, along with the ADG architect and project team, general contractors, the Smith & Pickel Construction team and city leaders, will gather for the groundbreaking cerebration of its new 27,000 square foot facility at 4301 N. Classen in Oklahoma City. Refreshments will be served.
The new facility is the result of NewViews’ Home for Hope Capitol Campaign.
The new venue will offer three low vision exam lanes, computer training, a technology training center (STEM), a Braille lab, a fully equipped adapted teaching kitchen, neurology and pediatric therapy rooms, a community room for group training, art classes, support groups and other activities. and a retail space featuring the latest in adaptive devices and assistance technologies.
Vision impaired patients will be guided through the facility with directed lighting, which will feature adjustable intensity for different eye conditions. High-contrast colors will accentuate the interior for fast navigation and non-reflective finishes will be used to reduce glare.
In addition, a meticulously designed flooring layout will provide different surfaces such as carpet, tile and vinyl to provide textural cues and acoustic difference that help identify locations.
To learn more about NewView Oklahoma’s programs or clinical services, visit newviewoklahoma.org.