The Austin Lighthouse for the Blind recently reached out to Microsoft about an issue that many of their employees and others who are blind or visually impaired deal with when taking certification exams. While the courses involved are accessible to those with failing or no eyesight, the exams are just the opposite and testing centers in Central Texas are not equipped for their needs.
Central to this challenge was the lack of appropriate proctor training. Proctors who monitor the students during an examination are generally unfamiliar with the nuances of working with blindness or other disabilities. The Austin Lighthouse pursued the matter with Pearson VUE a testing and certification organization that works with several technology organizations and specifically with Microsoft. It was determined that providing a testing center, specific to individuals with disabilities was feasible and very much needed in our geographic area.
The Austin Lighthouse partnered with Microsoft and requested funding for the purchase of the testing equipment through Microsoft’s corporate giving campaign. $10,000.00 was provided as a grant which allows the Austin Lighthouse to move forward with this venture.
The new Austin Lighthouse Certification Center will provide accessible testing and be open to anyone seeking to secure or reinstate their certifications from organizations such as Microsoft, Cisco, Salesforce, and others. The Austin Lighthouse expects the new testing center to be operational by June 1st, 2022.