A True Community Partnership
IBVI and Vision Forward Work Together to Support the Blind and Visually Impaired Community
For years IBVI has been committed to finding ways to support and empower members of the blind and visually impaired community. Year after year, IBVI has taken the initiative in finding new organizations and technologies to donate to, helping provide resources to people who are blind or visually impaired across the country. In March of 2022, our president and CEO CJ Lange, and other IBVI executives, decided it was time to re-evaluate the company’s charitable giving. By partnering with Vision Forward in 2022, we found another way to support the blind and visually impaired IBVI employees that make up approximately half of our incredible staff. So what is Vision Forward?
What is Vision Forward?
Vision Forward has been providing services to people who are blind and visually impaired since 1919. Today, it is the only comprehensive vision resource agency in Wisconsin serving people of all ages who are blind and visually impaired. It was a natural fit for our organizations to come together to try and create a better world for people who are blind and visually impaired within our own community. In March of 2022, IBVI invested $75,000 in a brand-new partnership with Vision Forward, creating a plethora of new ways to help blind and visually impaired employees within our organization. Over the past year, Vision Forward has helped facilitate job-specific staff training, accessibility consultation, individual staff development as well as administrative support training.
Getting Our Employees What They Need
We kicked off the new program by offering free Vision Forward assessments to our employees to help provide access to any additional aids, home tools, training, or vision service appointments our employees might need to assist their vision. We wanted to ensure all of our employees could access these assessments by hosting them at IBVI during the workday. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the amount of requests, leading us to host multiple free assessment days throughout the year. Employees have been thrilled about this new program while many have expressed that the Vision Forward partnership feels like an entirely new set of benefits that make IBVI an even better place to work at.
Through Vision Forward’s many avenues, the program has helped advance the visual needs of our IBVI employees while also helping them achieve and advance their professional goals. Through this program, IBVI’s blind and visually impaired employees have been able to find new career paths in fields and positions that might have previously seemed unattainable. Vision Forward has helped employees become better at typing and navigating web browsers. The Job Assisted Workstation (JAWS) has helped blind and visually impaired employees break free from assembly line jobs and has helped elevate their skillset to be able to work higher level, independent jobs. Vision Forward will continue to offer up to four hours of individual training in any service area including low vision, technology, daily living, orientation and mobility, braille, and support. Vision Forward will also provide up to four, 90-minute training sessions on enhancing interactions between individuals who are blind or visually impaired and sighted individuals, designed to facilitate open and honest dialogue.
The Future of Vision Forward
In just one year, Vision Forward has already helped increase many of our employees’ productivity levels, helping them reimagine their true potential at IBVI and beyond. With IBVI’s and Vision Forward’s staff working together, our two organizations have forged a brilliant and unstoppable synergy.
“After an incredibly successful year it feels like we’re just beginning to scratch the surface,” said president and CEO CJ Lange. “We’re currently in the process of renewing our partnership with Vision Forward. It’s been great working with such an incredible local organization that’s already done so much for our employees and we’re thrilled to continue searching for ways to expand this project in the years to come.”
To learn more about IBVI’s success in creating new career opportunities and technological advances for our employees check out our recent blog.