Train for a new career at your own pace with our online study options


World Services for the Blind now offers online study for select career-training programs, including Assistive Technology Instructor, Call Center Specialist, Certified Administrative Assistant, Certified Credit Counselor and Microsoft Office Specialist.

The programs are all open enrollment, which means they can be joined at any time. Once a program has been chosen, potential clients and their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will work with WSB staff to answer any questions the client may have to ensure the program is a good fit.

 

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How Does it Work?
 

The enrollment process for online programs is as follows:

  • Fill out an application from wsblind.org and clearly indicate your interest in an online training programs.
     
  • Please note all program skill prerequisites and necessary equipment, and discuss with your VRC.
     
  • You will be contacted by a representative of our Assistive Technology department for an equipment check, and an assistive technology skills pre-assessment.
     
  • You will receive the results and any further recommendations concerning that assessment in a minimum of five business days by email.
     
  • If there are skill deficits, a recommendation for further assistive technology training will be submitted to you and your VRC.
     
  • If there are no difficulties, you and your VRC will discuss an official online start date for your training.

 

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Which Programs are Available Online?
 


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY INSTRUCTOR
The nine-month Assistive Technology Instructor (ATI) program is designed to prepare a graduate to work as an academic instructor of assistive technology qualified to instruct customers in learning the proper use of assistive technology, Microsoft Office, Windows operating systems and Apple iOS at a rehabilitation facility; as a sales representative for an assistive technology vendor; or to develop his/her own independent consultant company for assistive technology analysis, instruction, training and equipment recommendations, or long distance/in-house problem solving or tech support assistance.

CALL CENTER SPECIALIST
Offering impeccable customer service is critical for any organization or company hoping to create and maintain a loyal customer base. World Services for the Blind’s eight-week Call Center Specialist training program imparts a vast skill set upon its participants so that, upon graduation, they are prepared to take on the role of call center representative with confidence. Organized into 11 components, the eight-week program covers the following topics: customer service, soft skills, communication, relationship building, sales and marketing, difficult customers, operations, human resources, and Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel programs.

CERTIFIED ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
The Certified Administrative Assistants (CAA) certification exam prepares individuals for a career as an administrative assistant/secretary across a wide range of professional companies. Attaining national certification displays that individuals have studied and mastered the necessary skills to be a recognized professional in the field of administrative assistants. The CAA holds its own as a standalone certification, and can be paired with other programs such as MOS or our customer service/call center training.

CERTIFIED CREDIT COUNSELOR
Credit counseling is a huge industry with significant opportunities for employment. With the proper training and instruction, clients will learn the ins and outs of becoming credit counselors. The training and instruction will provide them with the tools to educate and guide others looking to improve their credit and financial situations. The curriculum explores credit cards, debt collection, mortgage and small business lending, housing issues, retirement income options, student financial aid, the psychology of spending and options for resolving debt. Clients will earn three certifications, with the opportunity to earn two additional certifications, for a total of five certifications upon completion of the program. The first three certifications will take approximately 12 weeks to earn, and include credit counseling, financial counseling and debt settlement certifications. The additional two certifications are housing counseling and student loan counseling, which will add 12 additional weeks of classroom training.
 
MICROSOFT OFFICE SPECIALIST
The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) program is designed to effectively prepare adults who are blind or visually impaired to successfully earn certifications for the Microsoft Office applications. The program prepares a client to function in an office environment or as a first-level application support specialist. Computer training is accomplished with the use of assistive technology such as screen-reading programs and magnification programs, depending on the individual’s needs.
 

 

If you're ready to take the next steps towards beginning online study, or if you would like to speak to someone about a program, don't hesitate to contact us. The WSB Admissions & Recruiting Department can be reached at at 800-248-0734 or training@wsblind.org.

Press Release: President Trump’s federal hiring freeze suspends training programs that guarantee IRS jobs for people who are blind

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Mel Jones, Director of Communications & Development

 

LITTLE ROCK, February 1—IRS job training programs at World Services for the Blind will be suspended until further notice because of an executive order from President Donald J. Trump that imposes a 90-day hiring freeze on civilian federal workers. The order, signed on January 23, 2017, states that “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.”  

The IRS programs, which are part of a 50-year partnership between WSB and the IRS, provide intensive training for people who are blind or visually impaired to work in a variety of positions within the federal agency. Participants interview for the positions prior to beginning the program, and those accepted are assigned to work at one of several IRS offices around the country. Participants are guaranteed those jobs upon successful completion of the program.

Immediately affected are the 10 students who, as of last week, were in their third week of a four-week evaluation for the Taxpayer Service Representative (TSR) Program. The 13-week program is designed to prepare a person to assist taxpayers with filing information at the Taxpayer Service Division of the IRS. The curriculum includes instruction in IRS tax law, accounts, procedures and forms. The students had been scheduled to begin their interviews on Friday, the same day staff confirmed the program’s cancellation with the IRS.

“Last week was one of the hardest weeks of my 17 months at WSB,” said Sharon Giovinazzo, president and CEO of the organization. “Standing before these 10 people and having to tell them that because of the hiring freeze they would not have a class was devastating. And while we are working to get these students into other programs that they may be interested in, they came here specifically for the guarantee of employment that the IRS programs offer. Instead they learned the lesson that the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees.”

The suspension comes at a time when WSB has experienced a turnaround under Giovinazzo’s leadership. With an expanded suite of career training programs, WSB has seen a renewed interest in programs that will help decrease the 70-percent unemployment rate among people who are blind. And while the hiring freeze is only effective for 90 days, the effects will last much longer.

“All exemptions under the Schedule A Hiring Authority, which allows preferential hiring for people with disabilities, must be placed by September 30. At the end of September those exemptions are no longer valid, and new exemptions will need to be reevaluated by each federal agency and will not be released until sometime in 2018,” Giovinazzo said.  

In addition to the TSR class, the executive order also affects the Service Center Collection Representative Program, scheduled for summer 2017. The IRS has not issued an official statement regarding the executive order’s effect on the programs. The partnership between WSB and the IRS is the only one of its kind.