From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs
Charles Spicer received an award from NIB and the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind at their annual training conference in
. Cincinnati, Ohio
NIB approached Spicer in 2009 when the organization discovered the need for a compatibility software adjustment while creating a training program to help the blind and visually impaired pursue careers in contract management.
"I advised NIB that Window-Eyes may be a solution to the problems," said Spicer. "I set up my laptop computer in our conference room and demonstrated how a blind person accesses and uses PD2 [Procurement Desktop Defense]."
When Spicer worked with the Army, he used a software program called Job Access With Speech (JAWS) with PD2, a contract writing software system, to perform his contract specialist duties. However, after a minor upgrade to PD2, JAWS no longer functioned with the PD2 system and he lost speech output.
Then, when Spicer began working with the Navy in 2009 and PD2 was accessed through the Citrix server, he again encountered the same compatibility issues. Using Window-Eyes, a screen-reading program that allows the user to hear what is on the screen by using key strokes, helped him gain access to the tools he needed to do his job.
Spicer's collaborations with NIB's CMS training program has allowed NIB to continue its mission to provide high-growth career opportunities in contract management for skilled blind and visually impaired professionals.
"Thanks to Charles' efforts getting screen-reading software installed on Navy central servers, NIB was able to provide a prototype example to the rest of the Department of Defense and the Army for eventual enterprise-wide approvals for assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired," said Douglas Goist, NIB CMS Assistive Technology coordinator.
Spicer's award coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is recognized in October to raise awareness of the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.