Michelle Corum / WJCT News

Connecting people with disabilities with jobs was the focus of Thursday’s Hiring Abilities job fair hosted by the city of Jacksonville and the Florida Blue insurance company.

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke about child safety with Patricia Medlock (01:05), the area director of the Department of Children and Families. We spoke with Patrick Lane, full-time agent for Aira, his father Peter, who is blind and hosts the podcast “Blind Abilities,” and Al Avina (20:06), Executive Director of the Blinded Veterans Association, which is holding its convention later this month in Jacksonville. We rebroadcast an interview with author Cindy Landham (31:27), and musicians Madison Carr and Lenn Johnson (41:13) joined us and performed live in-studio with a preview of their upcoming Jacksonville show “Imagine John Lennon.”  


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Emily Michael is a writing professor at the University of North Florida and she’s been blind her whole life.

And for the past couple years, instead of getting around by cane, she’s been guided by her black Labrador retriever, York. 

Florida Students who are blind or have low vision met in Jacksonville Thursday for an annual Braille reading and writing competition.

For many purposes, Braille has been replaced by smartphone apps and other technologies.

But the Braille system, invented in 1821 by Louis Braille, is not dead yet.

Remember those spelling tests where the teacher called out the word and you wrote it down?  Blind children have spelling tests too when they’re learning Braille.

people using canes to walk down the sidewalk
Braille Institute

Getting from point A to point B safely can be challenging for those living with blindness. Often, they use a white cane to help them navigate streets, and they want to remind drivers to be on the lookout for them.

Michelle Corum / WJCT News

Although the overall job market has improved, the U.S. Labor Department finds an increasing number of Americans with disabilities are unemployed. 

Three women living with blindness in Jacksonville are searching for jobs, and not finding any.