Ken Curtis wanted to marry his roles as branch manager at Assiniboine Credit Union with his longtime work as a community leader with CNIB.
He felt misconceptions around hiring workers with sight loss meant qualified people were being passed over by some other employers. With the support of ACU head office, Curtis worked in partnership with CNIB to find employment for blind or partially-sighted workers.
“Like any organization, we are always seeking great people to join the team,” says Curtis. “As a board member and now provincial board chair of CNIB, I have met countless talented individuals who just happen to have low or no vision. Knowing the stats on employability for the blind, I wanted to explore what I could do.”
Because CNIB has a pool of skilled clients eager to find jobs, Curtis knew this would be a good plan for ACU. “I want to prove how easy it is to employ someone with a disability,” he says.
Less than a year later, ACU hired Paige Dufour, who is legally blind, as a member services representative.
“I have had a lot of positive feedback from my bosses, co-workers and our members,” she says. “I have never had a front-line job before and I was not sure how people would react. Everyone has been very supportive. I even have members who are curious about the technology I use and I get to show them my tools.”
Adapting Dufour’s workstation to accommodate her needs was easy and inexpensive for ACU. Her computer has Zoomtext software for magnification, as well as voice-over screen reading. She also uses a hand-held magnifier and has a large-print keyboard.
Curtis says it took Dufour very little time to ease into her role as an ACU employee.
“She has fit in very well with the branch and team and works well with everyone,” he says.
Adds Dufour: “I love coming to work and serving our members. I am so thankful for the opportunity.”