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Your UCP: National September 01, 2003

For Job Seekers

American Foundation for the Blind Establishes National Employment Center at its San Francisco Office

Contact: Terry Allen
(212) 502-7674

Judith Stotland
(415) 392-4845

Wells Fargo Senior VP Concetta Conkling Named Chair

New York, NY, May 16, 2002 — The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)—the national nonprofit to which Helen Keller devoted her life, and which has maintained a Bay Area presence for over 30 years-announces the establishment of its National Employment Center in San Francisco.

Since 1993, the downtown offices previously known as AFB West, have housed the leadership of AFB's initiatives to reduce unemployment and under-employment among people who are blind or visually impaired. Currently, over 50% of working-age visually impaired people are not employed.

Concetta Conkling of Moraga, CA, has been named chair of the Center's board. A Wells Fargo employee for 25 years, Conkling is currently senior vice president and manager of the "Doing It Right for the Customer" department where she has designed and implemented various companywide programs for Wells Fargo's 125,000 employees, related to enhancing customer service. Before that, she held various management positions in communications, marketing, operations, and lending. She holds a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York, Albany.

"Wells Fargo is a longtime and generous supporter of AFB," said Gil Johnson, director of the National Employment Center and an internationally recognized expert in the field of rehabilitation for blind or visually impaired people. "We are pleased to continue and broaden this relationship with Concetta's tenure as chair."

Under Johnson's direction the National Employment Center will, among other things:

  • seek to educate and influence employers and human resources executives as to the capabilities of blind or visually impaired employees;
  • provide ongoing support to the blindness field through "train-the-trainer" seminars that teach new skills to rehabilitation and counseling personnel; and
  • serve blind or visually impaired people through CareerConnect, a national database of over 1,000 professionals who are blind or visually impaired and available to answer questions about the technology they use on the job, and share their experience and advice with job-seekers. The day-to-day maintenance of the database is supervised from AFB's Technology and Employment Center in Huntington, WV.

The mission of the American Foundation for the Blind is to eliminate the inequities faced by the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired. AFB fulfills this mission by addressing the four most critical issues facing this growing population: independent living, access to technology, literacy, and employment. Headquartered in New York City, AFB maintains offices in Chicago and Dallas, a National Literacy Center in Atlanta, a National Employment Center in San Francisco, a governmental relations office in Washington, DC, and a Technology and Employment Center in Huntington, WV. Visit AFB online at www.afb.org.

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