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Spring 2009 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By KC Dignan PhD, Professional Preparation Coordinator, TSBVI

Abstract: This article discusses the shortage of VI professionals in Texas and recognizes those who volunteer to Pay It Forward.

Keywords: blindness, visual impairment, Texas Fellows recruitment, education, job fairs, VI teachers, O & M specialists

It is no secret that there is a shortage of VI professionals in Texas, and the rest of the country, for that matter. Everyone wants to help. The challenge is to know how to help and when. There are many, many ways to help recruit new VI teachers and orientation and mobility specialists. One of them is to share information about the field with new educators, and those who are considering a change.

We know a lot about recruiting VI professionals.

  • We know that once you've decided that this is what you want to do, that it can take 2 years to make the change.
  • We know that once certified, people will get jobs even if it looks like there are no vacancies.
  • We know that VI professionals want to be good recruiters, but sometimes aren't sure what to do.
  • We also know that most educators don't even know about working with children with visual impairments and what a difference they can make on the lives of their students.

That awareness-level recruiting is an important part of the process. That first contact isn't likely to change people's lives that day, but it is the most important first step.

For the past 3 years TSBVI has been attending job fairs to share information with new and existing educators. At the job fairs educators are given a Braille Activity Card to use with their students. They are also given information about working with students with visual impairments.

As the program has grown, so has the need for volunteers to help at the job fairs. This year we have even more booth buddies than ever.

We would like to acknowledge those who have made the commitment to Pay It Forward by volunteering to help at a job fair. These committed professionals have often had to take time off work to make it happen.

We thank them. If you know anyone on this list, please take a moment to thank them as well.

The following people expressed willingness to Pay It Forward, but were unable to schedule an event. We want to acknowledge them as well.