Accessibility

Blind Institute of Technology, Uber team for Colorado job access initiative

Posted on July 11, 2016

The Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) and Uber Colorado announced an initiative to help qualified blind and visually impaired people travel to job interviews. Thanks to the agreement, a tap of the Uber app will help remove the employment barrier of getting to job interviews for blind and visually impaired BIT candidates in Colorado. Uber will provide two free rides (up to $25) to and from job interviews.

University of Denver graduate Mike Kemp understands firsthand the value the service will provide. When he was interviewing for jobs, he often spent more than a day organizing his travel to an interview. Not unusual, but in addition to making sure his suit was hanging neatly in the closet and that he rehearsed answers to potential interview questions, Kemp literally had to take extra steps.

Now a consultant for Denver's Breo Solutions, Kemp is one of the estimated 22.5 million Americans 18 and older who are blind or visually impaired (BVI), according to the 2014 National Health Interview Survey.

Unlike most job seekers, Kemp couldn't drive himself to an interview, which meant he had to spend extra time learning and memorizing bus routes and times. To ensure he arrived on time the day of his interview, Kemp often had to practice his route the day before to determine how long the journey would take. The difficulty of the process led him to approach the Blind Institute of Technology about creating a program to help others with transportation to employment opportunities.

"Statistics show that the unemployment and underemployment rate among blind and visually impaired Americans is a staggering 80 percent," said Mike Hess, founder and executive director of the Blind Institute of Technology. "BIT appreciates Uber's support in helping us solve this national diversity and inclusion epidemic so all motivated and qualified BVI candidates receive the same opportunities for employment as everyone else striving to achieve their career aspirations."

"We're excited to team with the Blind Institute of Technology and connect the population they serve with a convenient and reliable transportation option," said Uber Colorado GM Dave Britton. "Uber's mission is to make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone, and this agreement is another example of how we are working to make that mission a reality."

The partnership with Uber represents a central and important aspect of BIT's new Eyes on the Road program, which is dedicated to making transportation for BVI individuals — from their initial job interview to their daily commute to work — easy, convenient, affordable and stress-free.

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