New program helping the blind, visually-impaired apply for jobs

Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 20:13:31-05

LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) - A local company wants to fill the gap of high unemployment among the blind and visually-impaired.

While the majority are college-educated, 70 percent are unemployed. 

San Diego-based company Aira hopes to reverse the trend. The assistive technology service is announcing a new initiative to provide free service through the Aira Employment Program.

Aira uses smart glasses equipped with a camera that streams live video to a remote, human agent. Using the video stream, GPS, and web data, agents offer live, on-demand assistance to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Now job-seekers will be able to take advantage of the service for free as they look for employment. Agents will help navigate employment sites, fill out applications, build resumes, and travel to and from meetings with prospective employers. 

"Besides ignorance of not knowing what a blind person is capable of doing, the accommodation aspect is the other fear and Aira can help bridge a lot of that," said Juan Hernandez, an Aira Software Engineer who is totally blind. 

With help from the community and national partners, Aira has an ambitious goal of lowering the unemployment number from 70 percent to under 7 percent.

By removing barriers, Aira hopes companies will see an opportunity, blind and visually-impaired workers ready to put their vast skills and talents to work.