WHEREAS, the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, and tablet computers is increasing exponentially, guaranteeing that those who wish to remain independent must have knowledge of such devices in order to do so; and
WHEREAS, the technical capabilities of such devices have expanded opportunities for people who are blind, but only with specialized knowledge such as how to operate screen readers and built-in magnifiers; and
WHEREAS, seniors proficient in the use of mobile phones and internet-capable computers are able to stay connected within their communities and families, schedule medical appointments, secure volunteer opportunities, and generally obtain a greater level of independence, and
WHEREAS, State Services for the BLIND (SSB) only provides for a maximum of ten hours per case during which seniors can learn from assistive technology vendors of their choice outside of SSB’s staff; and
WHEREAS, given the complexity of some of these devices and their increasing importance for obtaining one’s independence, ten hours is often an insufficient amount of time for those wishing to learn to operate them; and
WHEREAS, SSB’s senior program, through the help of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, was recently awarded an additional million dollars for this fiscal year and five hundred thousand additional dollars (half of which must be spent on training) for each succeeding year, drastically expanding the pool of available funds to conduct senior training: now; therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this 2nd day of October in the city of Rochester Minnesota, that we call upon State Services for the blind (SSB) to remove the ten hour limit for technology training for seniors from external vendors; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge SSB to work with the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota to develop a comprehensive plan to insure that blind seniors have the technology skills they need to be independent, contributing members of society.