Envision announced today that Joel Leftwich has been named executive director of the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center. The mission of the center, which is based out of Envision’s Wichita, Kansas headquarters, is to train and employ individuals with visual impairments, place them into skilled positions and provide accessibility inclusion expertise to businesses throughout the United States.
“We are very proud and fortunate to have Joel bring his government agency and communications expertise to the BVI Workforce Innovation Center to further our efforts to break down barriers and create new opportunities through employment accessibility,” Heather Hogan, senior vice president of Foundation and Mission Services at Envision, said in the news release. “His background and connections will prove invaluable as we look to augment the programs the center has set in motion, establish and publicize new ones and provide a more influential voice for advocacy to elected officials and other decision makers.”
Mr. Leftwich joins the BVI Workforce Innovation Center from the Glover Park Group where he was a managing director at the Washington, D.C based strategic communications and government affairs consulting firm. In that capacity, he and his team provided strategic planning, communications and advocacy counsel to start-up companies, multi-national corporations and coalitions. Earlier in his career, he was the staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where he developed and executed political and policy strategies for Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS.). In between his government roles, he held government affairs and public policy positions with both Pepsico, Inc., and DuPont.
“From the moment I walked inside the BVI Workforce Innovation Center, I knew I wanted to be part of this forward-thinking team that is redefining the employment landscape for people who are blind or low vision,” Mr. Leftwich said. “I’m honored to lead efforts that put workplace inclusivity at the forefront of conversations and send the message to people with vision loss that their contributions are welcomed by employers.”
Since its launch in 2018, the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center secured a contract to provide customer support for a satellite messaging device and launched an Accessible Products Hotline, both of which created jobs for people with vision loss. At the same time, representatives of the BVI Workforce Innovation Center have made inroads into both the business and government sectors, advocating for greater accessibility to jobs and increasing awareness of the availability and capabilities of this abundant and able population.