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Graduate School of Leadership and Change Student Awarded Prestigious Grant to Focus on Workplace Inclusion

Graduate School of Leadership and Change (GSLC) student and experienced workplace inclusion scholar, Kelly Bleach has been awarded a research grant from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work (ARDRAW) 2021 Small Grant Program. This one-year grant is awarded to graduate-level students to conduct supervised independent research designed to foster new analysis of work, rehabilitation, and disability issues, which may develop innovative and fresh perspectives on disability.

Kelly’s project is entitled How People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired Experience Relationships in Text-Based Workspaces. Given the fact that companies are increasingly turning to text-based communications to recruit, hire, and manage a distributed remote workforce, the project is particularly timely and will examine the impacts of these practices on people who are blind or visually impaired including challenges, opportunities, potential isolation, stereotyping, stigmatization, relationship building, networking, and employment success. This investigation will result in the development of emergent theory and a model that can advance policies and practices for employers and for employment training and support programs in vocational rehabilitation agencies and employment networks.

The research builds upon Kelly’s interest in investigating promising practices for leveraging technology to advance employment for people with visual impairments and is in direct alignment with her commitment to the mission of the American Foundation for the Blind, where she has worked for more than 25 years, and the Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey, where she is a board trustee.