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Charles W. McDowell Center for the Blind

Training Courses

Programs offered at the McDowell Center


The McDowell Center programs are geared toward increasing employment opportunities as well as enhancing independence at home, out in the community, and at work. The vocational rehabilitation instructors and staff are available to assess and train in the following areas:  

  • Assistive Technology (AT) – Instruction in the use of application software and assistive technology devices, such as speech access, screen magnification, and note taking devices.
  • Audio Equipment – Instruction in the use of tape recorders, talking book program equipment, personal and financial record keeping, etc.
  • Basic Skill Remediation – Provision of accommodated study materials and tutoring for literacy training, the GED, for college entrance, or to improve an academic skill (writing, math, or reading) needed for a job.
  • Braille – Instruction to learn or improve knowledge of the literacy Braille code for reading and writing, labeling, and other communication needs.
  • Career Exploration and Employability Skill Training - Identification of career interests, skills, and related educational or training requirements.  Instruction in job search methods, resume development, professionalism, networking, interviewing skills, job lead development (including use of Internet), and job search planning.     
  • Financial Management – Provision of learning opportunities in the following skill areas: identifying cash money, calculating correct change, utilization and record keeping of bank accounts; knowledge of rights under Social Security.
  • Health Education – Instruction in use of diabetic devices, nutrition and diet, medications, and other health related topics.
  • Home Management – Instruction in tips, techniques and use of assistive devices for clothing management, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and budgeting.
  • Keyboarding – Instruction in personal and business typing.
  • Low Vision – Evaluation and Instruction in maximizing functional vision with different low-vision aides and devices.
  • Office Technology – Instruction in operating systems such as Windows and software programs such as Microsoft Office, and the basic computer literacy skills needed to effectively complete common functions in a work environment. 
  • Orientation and Mobility (O&M) – Instruction in increasing the ability to travel within one’s environment safely, efficiently, and gracefully with the understanding of relationship to objects within that environment.
  • Personal Adjustment Counseling – Counseling on identifying psychological barriers that impede a person’s ability to adjust to their vision loss: providing necessary support and encouragement to facilitate change.
  • Recreational Activities – Offering a schedule of upcoming recreational activities to each consumer, with encouragement for all to participate. Although most activities are free to consumers, there are some for which participants are expected to pay a small fee.  
  • Seminar – Facilitating group discussions about relevant concerns and issues that impact individuals who are visually impaired or blind.
  • Vocational Evaluation - Addressing specific referral questions pertaining to an individual’s education, training and employment. 
  • ​Work Experience Program – Following successful completion of individual training goals at the Center, a consumer has the opportunity to participate in a work experience.