• SAAVI Staff and Students Hiking Group

    A large group of SAAVI Students and Staff equipped with their canes and walking sticks, posing for a picture before they undertake a great hike outside.
  • SAAVI Students on the move

    Two photos, one showing a group of students under learning shades walking alongside a river, with a bridge in the background. The other photo shows a student under learning shade getting ready to fly down a zipline.
  • SAAVI Students Doing Great

    Two photos, one showing four students posing in front of the Community Food Bank truck after an event. The other photo shows a group of students under learning shades getting ready to light their grills and cook that nights dinner.

Integrated Employment Conference

Integrated Employment- Cultivating a Culture of Strengths

The Integrated Employment – Cultivating a Culture of Strengths conference will provide information critical to fostering a culture of asset-based employment by bringing together employers, community partners, families, and consumers who are blind and/or those who have other disabilities. The overall purpose of this conference will be for persons with disabilities to gain information to help them transition to competitive, integrated employment settings where they can work in positions that play to their strengths and allow them to earn a competitive wage. Most importantly, this conference will positively impact many Arizonans with IDD, some of whom currently working in sheltered work environments, and those who are under- or unemployed. Informing local companies and community members who will participate in our conference to gain information cultivating a culture of strengths.

This conference will highlight advancements gained by the blind community to provide companies with information to take an integrated approach to strength-based employment; inform consumers of their rights and responsibilities; and provide information for families, caregivers, and professionals central to integrated employment. The conference will culminate with a job fair at the end of the day, where participants will be exposed to companies with various employment options, as well as have a chance to network.

Date: May 14, 2021

Location: This conference will be hosted live via the Zoom conference platform.

Registration: Click here to register.

Price: Donations only



Who Should Attend

Any persons who are blind or visually impaired, persons with other physical disabilities, persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), caregivers, families, professionals, educators, employers, community members, and other stakeholders looking into creating a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

There will be keynote presentations and plenary conference sessions where participants will hear and learn from experts in the field of asset-based employment, working with people with disabilities and disability law.

Topics may include:

  • Agency-wide philosophy and culture on blindness and/or disabilities
  • Educational technologies, policies, and practices for integrated meaningful employment
  • Rehabilitation methods, principles, and policies that impact employment
  • Understanding one’s rights and responsibilities, accessibility options and solutions to perceived barriers of blindness and other disabilities
  • ADA accomplice and the law which supports cultivating a high performing company
  • Misperceptions: how blindness and other disabilities will not affect work performance
  • How to navigate the most common interview questions; disclosing your disability
  • Navigating the “unknown” how to see past the disability
  • Asset-based employment
  • company productivity, overcoming the “disability” label.

We invite professionals in related fields to submit a proposal to present at this conference during one of the concurrent breakout sessions. Read below for more information about our call for presentations.


Agenda at a Glance

  • 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Virtual Exhibit Space
  • 8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. Breakfast Program
    • Master of ceremony- Welcome & Introductions
    • Opening Session Speaker: CEOs focusing on the culture of asset-based employment, capitalizing on individual strengths how a blind worker can contribute to company productivity, overcoming the “disability” label.
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  Session 1: Americans with Disabilities Act and Your Rights
    • Presentation 1 (For Consumers):  Understanding your rights and responsibilities, accessibility options and solutions to perceived barriers of blindness
    • Presentation 2 (For Employers): How the law supports you in cultivating a high performing company
    • Presentation 3 (For consumer advocacy organizations):  Help us help you
  • 10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  Break: Networking & Exhibit Space
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.  Session 2: Accommodations and Resources
    • Presentation 1:  Vendor round table, hands-on discussion of tools, technology, and low-cost accommodation options
    • Presentation 2: Misperceptions: how blindness and other disabilities will not affect work performance
  • 11:45 a.m.  – 1:00 a.m.  Lunch Program: Master of Ceremony
    • Lunch Session Speaker: How I transitioned from sheltered employment to competitive integrated employment, as told by a successful employee
  • 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Session 3: The Job Interview
    • Presentation 1 (For Consumers):  How to navigate the most common interview questions; disclosing your disability
    • Presentation 2 (For Employers): Navigating the “unknown” how to see past the disability
  • 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM Session 4: Career Information Fair
    • Providers and employers available to network with consumers

Call for Presentations

We would like to invite you to submit a proposal to present at this conference during one of the concurrent breakout sessions. Abstracts should be submitted on one of the following conference themes or another closely related track:

  • Agency-wide philosophy and culture on blindness and/or disabilities
  • Educational technologies, policies, and practices for integrated meaningful employment
  • Rehabilitation methods, principles, and policies that impact employment
  • Understanding one’s rights and responsibilities, accessibility options and solutions to perceived barriers of blindness and other disabilities
  • ADA accomplice and the law which supports cultivating a high performing company
  • Misperceptions: how blindness and other disabilities will not affect work performance
  • How to navigate the most common interview questions; disclosing your disability
  • Navigating the “unknown” how to see past the disability
  • Asset-based employment
  • company productivity, overcoming the “disability” label.

Proposals should include:

  • Title of presentation
  • Name and contact information for lead presenter
  • Name and contact information of additional presenters (if any)
  • AV requirements (Note: you may be required to provide your own equipment)
  • Abstract that includes a description of the workshop and what participants will learn. Proposals should not exceed 200 words in length.

Questions about presentations can be directed to Reginald Laister rlaister@saavi.us

Deadline for proposals is April 15th 2021.

Selected presenters will be notified by May 1st 2021 and all presenters are expected to register for the conference.

All completed proposals should be emailed to rlaister@saavi.us.