To: Professor Penning
From: Kellie Wirpio, MWEB
Date: February 11, 2019
Steve’s life and the impact of MWEB
MWEB is committed to helping the blind community reach financial stability. This is done through the hiring of blind employees. Steve is an employee of MWEB, and would be a good choice in delivering a speech for the company.
Steve is a good speech candidate because he has personally been impacted by his employment through MWEB. Steve is blind, so the speech will need to be translated to braille. In the speech, it is brought up how Steve was often turned down from jobs, which he suspected was due to his disability. This helps show the struggle that Steve and many others go through with their disability. Statistics were also used on the blind unemployment rate to show that Steve was not alone in the job search. The speech could be given at a city council meeting.
Inclusion of how Steve felt socially due to the lack of job was given to give an emotional appeal. No one wants to struggle to find a job, which is why it will be relatable to Kalamazoo county, which is the target audience. Usage of cues was done as well. I did this by writing out if I wanted Steve to do an action such as pause. These actions help add emotion and help give the crowd time to process the information.
Steve asks the audience if they will help support businesses that support the blind community, which adds an emotional affect. This will help people become more willing to support groups such as MWEB, due to listening to someone share their testimony.
Thank you to the community and the board members for taking the opportunity to listen to me tell my story. It is an honor to share my life and my experiences that make me who I am today.
My life has brought several challenges. Through big and small roadblocks, I get through them all. For those of you who know me, I am blind. Growing up, I wouldn’t have seen the troubles that I would encounter due to my disability. Pun intended. My name is Steve, and I am that blind guy.
Not only have I had trouble with my disability, but so have other members of the blind community in the Kalamazoo area. Kalamazoo county has one of the highest blind communities in Michigan. With that said, the employment rate and opportunities for this community are slim.
Imagine being born into the United States. The country of unlimited opportunity. The country where everyone tells you that you can be what you want to be. To shoot for the stars. To let nothing stand in your way of your dreams. Now imagine being blind and having the struggle of reaching success automatically double. Imagine your dreams slipping away. Imagine everything you have worked for falling out of your fingertips, whether you can help it or not. Imagine not being given the chance you deserve due to your undeserved disability. (pause). I know what that is like, because I am that blind guy.
You may be wondering how many blind people are unemployed. Is the chance chance of getting a job is really that difficult? (Pause) Well trust me, it is.
According to the Huffington post, 62% of visually impaired Americans are unemployed. With such high employment rates, jobs that accommodate my disability are more competitive. Imagine wanting to get into your favorite Ivy League university. That is equivalent to the difficulty we face trying to find the [Sarcastic voice] “perfect job”. Having all the ambition in the world, but not being able to apply it to the workforce. You could have all the drive and the skill sets but not be able to utilize it.
I have experienced first hand the trouble with finding a job. The job search is hard enough let alone when you are blind. With my disability, I have always been open with employers when applying. Being turned down often, I questioned why. Is it my disability? Is it because I’m that blind guy.
Being able to support yourself is one thing I have always wanted. Socially, my friends have given me a hard time about not being able to find a job.
You may be wondering when does this turn to a happy ending? Where is your happy ending Steve?
Well I’m getting to that part. I knew I wanted a job but needed help finding one. One that could accommodate and give me the chance that I had wanted. I went ahead and talked to my advisor at the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. I had to do it because remember, I am that blind guy.
Once I went there, I was introduced to the opportunity to apply to Michigan Enterprises for the Blind. Intrigued, I went ahead and applied. I heard back quickly, and before I knew it I was able to go ahead and start my work.
I became one that beat the odds of the unemployed statistics. The one getting the lucky break. One of the lucky 38% of the blind community who is employed. Am I lucky because I’m Steve the blind guy?
Now you may be wondering what exactly I do at Michigan Enterprises for the Blind. At MWEB I have been mainly completing data entry. This has given me practice with computers, which I hope to work with in the future.
So with getting the independence to support myself with this job I ask you this before I go. I ask you to support businesses that support people like me. Who give the blind community opportunities. More importantly, businesses who give us hope. I am so thankful to be given the opportunities that I have through MWEB and to be Steve that blind guy.