The National Federation of the Blind
Transition to Independence Career Fair

"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."
--Michael Jordan

Lisamaria Martinez speaks to Career Fair participants during the opening session.The 2008 Transition to Independence Career Fair, held at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute on February 21, 2008, was a rousing success.  In spite of the inclement weather, ninety-three students, teachers, and parents attended the event.  In the opening session, Mark Riccobono, Executive Director of the Institute, welcomed the participants and spoke about the importance of the information they would receive throughout the day, and Lisamaria Martinez, a Para-Olympic hopeful in judo, spoke about her experiences in school and sports and told the students to "Go for the Gold."  Listen to Lisamaria's speech.Career Fair attendees listen to presenters during workshops.

Following the opening session, attendees divided up into smaller groups and attended break-out workshops.  Student workshop topics included learning how to make a good first impression, preparing for college life, advocating for oneself, communicating effectively, and learning the importance of early work experience.  Parent and teacher workshops focused on their roles in the transition process for their students as well as on the importance of having high expectations.

Kevan Worley gives the keynote address during the Career Fair lunch.During lunch, Kevan Worley, CEO of Worley Enterprises, Inc., spoke to the crowd about his childhood, the residential school for the blind that he attended, and about discovering who he was and who he wanted to be.  Now a businessman, Kevan overcame his early difficulties to be the successful entrepreneur that he is today.  Listen to Kevan's speech.

Following lunch, attendees were able to participate in mock interviews and visit various exhibits, including the Maryland Department of Rehabilitation Services, the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, and the Youth Leadership Forum.  Participants also spent time Students visit an exhibit during the Career Fair.networking with successful blind adults in various fields.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the 2008 Transition to Independence Career Fair, please contact Karen Zakhnini at 410-659-9314, ext. 2293, or via e-mail at [email protected].

Thank you to all who participated in the Career Fair and to our 2008 sponsors, including:

United Parcel Service


2007 Transition to Independence Career Fair

Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, Executive Director of the Jernigan Institute, speaks to Career Fair attendees during a workshop.The 2007 NFB Transition to Independence Career Fair was a tremendous success.  The more than one-hundred partcipants included students, parents, teachers, and rehabilitation professionals from Maryland, Virginia, New York, Delaware, and Ohio. 

Throughout the day, attendees took part in workshops, discussing interviewing,Ever Lee Hairston gives the keynote address during the NFB Career Fair. resume writing, job-hunting, internships, and blindness issues.  In addition, Abraham Nemeth, inventor of the Nemeth Code, was on hand to share his own experiences.  During lunch, Ever Lee Hairston, former director of the Department of Health and Human Services in New Jersey and first vice-president of the NFB of New Jersey, gave an inspiring speech about her own struggles and successes.  In addition, participants spent time visiting Career Fair exhibitors, including Goddard Space Flight Center, Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, and Maryland's Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Thank you to all who participated in this event. 

The Transition to Independence Club is funded under a grant/contract supported by the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor, grant/contract #E-9-4-3-0065, and by Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services.  The program is operated by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute's National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS). The opinions contained in this publication are those of the grantee/contractor and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Labor.