Travis Association for the Blind, also known as the Austin Lighthouse, held a graduation ceremony for the first class of Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired (TSBVI) students to complete the Lighthouse’s new internship program on Friday, May 20.
Created in partnership with the TSBVI Transition Team, the intern program provides blind students with the opportunity to receive hands-on work experience, explore career options and develop new skills. For the 2021 – 2022 school year, seven interns worked with trainers and employees in manufacturing, distribution, the adaptive technology center, office administration, and the low vision store. In addition, the students participated in career guidance and technology courses.
The graduation ceremony, attended by staff of both organizations, was a celebration of the interns’ growth throughout the year. Trainers and mentors of the students shared feedback on their progress and presented them with certificates of completion.
Flora Cruz, an office administrator at the Lighthouse, worked with 19-year-old intern Yazmin “Mili” Martinez.
“It was great working with Mili for the past few months,” said Cruz. “I saw her develop from a timid person to someone taking the initiative to answer the phone and help employees and customers without being asked to do so. I wish her nothing but the best, and I know she’ll do great!”
The Lighthouse Training & Employment Services team was pleased with the outcome of the program’s first year, which resulted in one intern becoming an employee.
“This was an excellent start,” said Vice President of Mission Services Vince Boyd. “It was a good experience having students here to learn from our staff.” He plans to add other areas to the training program for students, including marketing, accounting, and management.
A new group of students will begin the program during the TSBVI Summer Session. The year-long internship will resume in the Fall.
Hear from the students in the video below.