FLORIDA – The Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) is creating the nation’s first state agency-led job apprenticeship program for the blind and visually impaired, the DBS has announced.
On Thursday, the DBS announced a first in the nation, state agency-led registered apprenticeship program to create employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired individuals, training them to enhance website accessibility for internet users for all disabilities.
The department’s new Web Accessibility Specialist Registered Apprenticeship Program combines on-the-job training with educational instruction to progressively increase workers’ skill levels, wages, and career options, the DBS said.
Graduates will also receive internationally recognized portable credentials, and their training may be applied toward further post-secondary education.
“This is a significant advancement for DBS clients,” said Senior Chancellor Henry Mack.
“It provides the benefit of being employed while also allowing participants to gain valuable skills that will enable them to make the web more accessible for themselves and their peers. We are very excited to launch this program.”
According to the DBS, the apprenticeship program was created to provide another pathway into the information technology arena for blind and visually impaired clients served by DBS. Web accessibility specialists will review and evaluate websites to actively enhance or improve user accessibility and end-user experience, with specialization in accessibility for blind or visually impaired individuals, the DBS said.
Web accessibility specialists may also contribute to the website design process, recommend user flows, collaboratively work with a larger team to troubleshoot accessibility errors, and fix accessibility compliance issues.
Apprentices selected into the program will serve as DBS employees and receive training at the DBS Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The competency-based apprenticeship is approximately 12 months, the DBS said,
Interested applicants should contact their DBS counselor and must:
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Be a proficient reader of Braille or large print.
- Have proficient computer skills.
- Use a keyboard proficiently.
- Be able to use the NonVisual Desktop Access screen reader.
- Have the ability to use the Google Chrome Browser and Chrome extensions.
- Have the ability to adapt to difficult challenges.
- Meet eligibility requirements for entry into to the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The Division of Blind Services is committed to ensuring that blind and visually impaired Floridians have the tools, support, and opportunities to achieve their goals and live productive and independent lives. DBS oversees 15 district offices throughout Florida, including the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Daytona Beach.
The center is a residential facility where visually impaired students temporarily reside to gain skills, education, and/or training that enables and empowers them to lead productive, self-sufficient lives.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services, visit dbs.fldoe.org.
For more information about the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, visit dbs.fldoe.org/Rehab-Center/index.html.