Bob Eichvald gave a presentation on the CNIB's Employment Accommodation Service, which helps blind and visually impaired clients find jobs. Begun in January 2001, the service operates in partnership with Workopolis.com, the largest job-posting site in Canada, and has set up a national online database of 400 job-ready blind and visually impaired workers across the country.
The program has received good results, Eichvald reported. It has made 100 placements and over 1,000 employer contacts, and has helped with 40 job retentions after vision loss due to accidents. It currently has over 80 requests for job retentions, an issue that will become increasingly more serious due to the aging workforce. Eichvald also highlighted the success found in repeat business, giving BMO and Rogers as examples. The program has also established contacts with non-traditional CNIB clients, and both the number of clients and the number of placements are growing.
He went on to describe the program's national marketing campaign. This campaign includes: contacting over 1,000 companies interested in diversity; posting jobs with CNIB employment staff across Canada; increasing the use of free media coverage through television, newspapers, and the Internet; using more paid media coverage; providing free packages and PowerPoint presentations; and hosting awareness sessions at companies on topics such as adaptive technologies and guide dog issues.
Eichvald emphasized the advantage of the program's national scope, which connects workers to jobs locally as well as across Canada. He concluded by stating that the Employment Accommodation Service has a simple message and approach, and that its partnership between the national and the local, its expertise in workplace accommodation, and its national awareness campaign are promoting job opportunities and a true sense of independence for its clients.