What problem does it solve? This idea would solve the problem that currently exists particularly at the Commission f/t Blind and Visually Impaired where blind and visually impaired professionals cannot get the transportation they need when required to go out in the field or when the professional is required to perform tasks of a visual nature while in the office. Speaking as a blind professional worker, there have been many times where I cannot even get transportation from my home to our office. What is your solution and who does it apply to? I propose a solution where the full time driver / aid position is not counted as a separate position / check cut. Rather, each time a blind or visually impaired professional is hired, it should be assumed that this position will require a full time driver position. The visually impaired professional and the driver / aid position should be counted as a single check cut. While at first glance it may appear that this solution applies only to the blind or visually impaired professional, this impacts all of our consumers that we serve at the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The ability for us to schedule appointments with our consumers and have a schedule upon which we can rely is essential for our jobs. Not having reliable transportation or assistance while in the office not only makes us look incompetent, but negatively impacts our consumers and the blind and visually impaired residents of our state. What is the anticipated impact? While solving the problems above, this would have a positive impact for all parties involved. Currently the drivers who work as temporary Employers are required to drive two or three people per day. This results in juggling vehicles on a day to day basis due to lack of hours, but it also results in many of our workers arriving late through no fault of their own. This can all be solved if one driver is assigned to each visually impaired professional. This solution would impact our consumers positively as we can schedule field appointments reliably and in a timely manner instead of the current system where we may need to reschedule appointments or make consumers wait longer than is necessary to receive the services they need.
This would provide continuity between professional and driver. The professional would not have to teach several people how to assist with certain tasks. For example, functional vision assessments are important for us to administer so that we know how a student sees in the school environment; therefore, our assessments need to accurate. There are certain procedures that need to be followed to have this accuracy.
I support this. NJCBVI used to have full time drivers aides and it would be a great idea to bring those back so our field workers who are blind can get to their appointments and serve the clients who need them.
I support this as well. As a teacher of the visually impaired, I work closely with many of the blind/VI workers in other disciplines for the Commission, such as technology instructors, etc. And many times we have to make join appointments for shared clients, but I am the one coordinating with the school, teachers, etc. When checking schedules and communicating with people, it would be much easier knowing the other person had a ride and confirming appointments is faster and more successful.
Don't think one can combine check cuts/position numbers. Otherwise I support the idea of one F/T driver for each F/T, itinerant, blind professional. Also need a back-up driver(s) for when F/T drivers are out. A pool of two or three TES drivers for each location might address that. Suggest effort should be gradual since it will likely call for additional check cuts/position numbers and you have to get them first.
Also, someone who is full time is receiving benefits and steady pay will be more willing to be a committed employee. Someone who is a TES, can be let go at any time or be searching for more steady employment at any point. If this happens, the professional would have to search for a new ride and possibly cancel appointments that are made, which will definitely impact client services. This happens way too often unfortunately and can cause a client to miss out on an opportunity.
As a former driver for the NJ CBVI, I feel having a full time driver aide per each blind or visually impaired professional definitely helps support our clients we serve optimally. By this I mean, having access to a full time driver the professional can schedule client appointments quicker, have more of success rate of keeping appointments and also have visual support as needed.
I think this helps the staff who are blind or visually impaired who have to take extra steps to coordinate their schedules because they don't know if there is a driver for them. Also, having a dedicated driver/aide allows the staff member to build a repour and trust with their assistant which better supports them in their role than if they just get who ever is available and may not even understand the full nature of the professional's job.
I Support this initiative!!
As a visually impaired Rehab Teacher with a full time driver. I can not express having the same assistant on a daily basis enhances my job performance. It only took a short amount of time for us to be instinct and for her to know what I am thinking and where my needs are before I do. Every Full-time staff member who is visually impaired should automatically have a full-time driver, if the alternate goal is to give our clients the best service.
The amount of 944 hours that is being given to TES drivers isn't enough in a Fiscal Year. Being assigned to a professional field staff who has to provide proper training, complete assessments with a Consumer the time frame may lag over a 2 hour window and to include travel time to a pre-scheduled destination. I strongly support assigning a fulltime driver when hiring an employee who is blind or visually impaired.
As a blind and visually impaired professional, it can be very frustrating trying to coordinate a schedule with a revolving door of temp drivers that are limited to a certain amount of hours every year. Not only that but with the limited cars that are available for all the visually impaired/blind staff it is often very frustrating to get to clients or meetings.
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