Envision announced the collaboration with the Wichita-based entrepreneurial group e2e to bring more tech jobs to Wichita, Kansas, specifically for the blind and visually impaired. The groups have enlisted the expertise of Prerna Goja Misri, CEO of Zensa LLC, out of Redmond, Washington, to partner with worldwide organizations such as Microsoft to obtain technical contracts. The Zensa team was in Wichita on June 21 to meet with stakeholders and create a plan that will allow individuals with vision loss living in the Wichita area to pursue careers in technology and other advanced fields. The agencies, Envision, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. (Seattle) and LC Industries (Durham, North Carolina) are part of the National Industries for the Blind network, providing employment for those who are blind or visually impaired. This initiative follows the agencies’ mission to combat the 63% unemployment rate among this population.
“We see a real need for advanced employment among those who are blind or visually impaired,” Michael Monteferrante, President and CEO of Envision, said in a company news release. “Through this partnership, we are able to offer high tech employment and opportunities that were not previously available in this market. We see this as another way to enhance the development of the Wichita community and provide a blueprint for other communities to follow.”
Envision has a strong focus on education and training for blind and visually impaired youth through the assistive technology camps for students in middle and high school. Programs throughout the organization encourage STEM development and upward mobility. The processes already in place at Envision have been the catalyst for this partnership, which will provide meaningful career opportunities for the blind and visually impaired nationwide.
A similar program has been established with Envision’s sister agency, The Lighthouse for the Blind. Goja Misri was instrumental in bringing high tech employment to the Seattle area, where the Lighthouse headquarters are located, for the blind and visually impaired. Currently, The Lighthouse is working on or has completed seven contracts from the prestigious tech giant Microsoft. Projects include 508 compliance testing for web portals, accessibility testing for gaming products and testing for XBOX and TV integration, just to name a few.
“We have been very successful in Seattle with providing employment for the blind and visually impaired,” Goja Misri, said in the news release. “The goal, with the help of Envision and e2e, is to provide that same level of success in Wichita.”
“More people should be aware of the astounding fact that one of the largest employers of individuals who are blind and visually impaired in the nation is located right here in Wichita. We are beyond excited to engage with Envision in such an entrepreneurial way,” said e2e CEO John Dascher. “Activating this amazing nationally renowned resource will change lives and be a contributor to Wichita’s economic engine.”