In Your Corner: Blindness Doesn't Stop Job Pursuit

By Ryan Elijah

October 14, 2011 Updated Oct 14, 2011 at 7:56 AM EDT

Last June, we met Tracy Rau, she had been out of work for 16 months after her longtime job was downsized. Although blind since the age of two, she never used that as an excuse. Tracy sent out countless applications, but couldn't find employment. Eventually her unemployment benefits ran out and her financial concerns grew.

In September, as she approached three years of being unemployed, she found out her cancer was gone, then weeks later, she got that long awaited job offer.

"God didn't want me to get a job until I was fully healed. The Doctor said my cancer just melted away", said Tracy.

Tracy was hired last week at "Home Is Where The Heart Is", an in-home care facility in Southwest Fort Wayne. She'll work as a receptionist and scheduler, all thanks to some amazing technology from Fort Wayne company GW Micro.

The company's technology reads what's on the computer screen for Tracy. It could be an email or a letter, instead of reading the screen, Tracy hears a computerized voice reading that information. A wand is also used to scan printed documents.

It's hard to understand why countless companies passed on hiring this talented worker, especially considering the technology she needs is completely covered by Vocational Rehabilitation.

Tracy says her biggest relief is finding a company that cares for their clients and employees.

"she's just wonderful, it's not like she has a disability, it's just like she does work like normal people", said Tina Benson, "Home Is Where The Heart Is" Owner.

"she looked past my disabilities and saw my abilities, that's all I ever wanted anyone to do was look at the abilities God gave me", said Tracy.

Like so many unemployed workers, Tracy was bothered most by feeling she wasn't contributing to her household. Since we first featured her story 16 months ago, the unemployment rate has improved slightly, moving from over 10.4%in Allen County to 8.5%.

While Tracy can't explain why it took so long to find work, she's grateful to AWS for helping her find employment and her husband. She seemingly had every reason to quit, but never did.

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