Each year, Envision hosts students who are blind and visually impaired from across the country for its Level Up Program and Career and College Expo. After applying for the program, students travel to Wichita to participate in educational sessions that prepare them for future education and employment opportunities. High Touch was excited to have the opportunity to sponsor the event and participate in the Career and College Expo.
Envision got its start as a small vocational workshop in Wichita in 1933. Since, Envision has worked to help transform the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired of all ages. Envision provides employment services, community involvement opportunities, training, services, and resources to the visually impaired community.
Building a Community Through Education
The Level Up Program connects students who are blind and visually impaired from across the U.S., providing the real world skills to help prepare for life after high school. Envision structures its Level Up program around three key concepts: connect, engage, and act. Most importantly, the Level Up Program creates a space for students to share stories and build connections. In doing so, students create lifelong connections by participating in inspirational learning activities.
The Level Up Program provides three age-specific opportunities for students. The Elementary School Program, which hosts students ranging from fourth to sixth grade, is a one-day program that focuses on computer basics. Elementary students learn how to use computer-assisted technology programs to prepare for middle school. They also learn studying, communication, and organizational skills.
In the Middle School Program, students attend a week of learning sessions to improve their technological literacy as well as sharpen interpersonal, psychosocial, and soft skills. In addition, middle school students participate in field visits to community businesses and motivational presentations.
Finally, in the High School Program, students participate in a weeklong conference, which helps them prepare for real world college and career paths. Level Up high school students learn advanced assistive technology and interview skills.
Jeff Myers, Technology Solutions Manager and Certified Ethical Hacker at High Touch, helped lead an educational session on cybersecurity. During the session, students discussed common hacking terminology and had an interactive overview of ethical hacking tools. “It was truly a humbling experience to see how the students utilize technology when coding,” states Myers. “There’s so much memorization where you would normally depend on a GUI (graphical user interface). I was very impressed.”
College and Career Expo
In addition to the educational sessions, Envision’s Level Up College and Career Expo gives high school students the opportunity to connect with and learn from business and college leaders. Students participate in one-on-one sessions to learn about opportunities for education, internships, and careers. In doing so, students practice important interview and networking skills to be successful professionals.
This was High Touch Project Manager Tara Crain’s first time at the event, and at first, she didn’t know what to expect. “I was impressed by the professionalism of all the students I had the chance to interact with. Many of the students have been attending the program for years. Attending helped me see how beneficial and important the Level Up Program is.”
The expo also underscores the need for employers to create inclusive, diverse workplaces. It helps business understand the skills and abilities of people who are blind and visually impaired. “It was a heartwarming experience,” states Jeff Lucas, Director of Operations – Wichita at High Touch. “I was humbled and very impressed by the skills of the young people attending the program.”
High Touch and Envision Partnership
Using technology, Envision is able to carry out its mission, “to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration and opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education, and research.” To further the partnership relationship, High Touch proudly sponsors Envision events, including the Level Up Program and the Annual Evening with Envision Gala.Learn More