Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State is receiving a five-year, $4.375 million grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research.
Beginning Sept. 1, the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People who are Blind or Have Low Vision grant will fund seven major research projects strengthening the NRTC’s reputation as the nation’s only federally funded center focused on employment outcomes for people with blindness or low vision.
“This grant allows our team to continue to advance research in the employment of people who are blind or have low vision, providing the opportunity to explore solutions to employment barriers faced by this population,” said director Michele McDonnall. “In addition, the grant allows us to continue to serve as a national resource center on employment of people who are blind or have low vision, providing training and technical assistance across the country.”
Specifically, NRTC researchers will explore access technology use in the workplace over time; evaluate the effects of virtual interview training for youth; develop and test an interactive video to educate employers about blindness and low vision; and evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of teaching job search skills via videoconferencing.
Other goals include identifying internal and external barriers and facilitators to labor force participation; exploring employment predictors and outcomes using large national datasets; and evaluating the accessibility and usability of job application websites.
In this new grant cycle, the NRTC plans to continue using research findings to create tools and resources for businesses, service providers and individuals with blindness or low vision. These include peer-reviewed publications, online courses, guides, training protocols, educational videos, and other valuable resources to be shared on the center’s website, www.blind.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.