2020 Honorable Mention Recipient

Human Services and Employment Capacity Building

Organization

Keystone Independence Management

Hermitage, PA

Program

Human Services and Employment Capacity Building

Partners

Keystone Blind Association

Keystone Vocational Services

Beaver County Association for the Blind

Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Montgomery County Association for the Blind

Contact Information

Human Services and Employment Capacity Building Laurie Staph,
President and CEO

3056 E. State Street
Hermitage, PA 16148

724.347.5501
Email

For most Americans, the ability to be independent and provide for yourself financially is a basic human need; some would argue it is a basic civil right. Yet, more than 70 percent of individuals who have vision loss are unemployed, despite possessing the skills and intelligence most employers believe are essential for success.

Our group of agencies has learned how to effectively collaborate with each other and with community partners, leveraging our respective strengths to serve the greater good. Today, we are one of the largest combined employers of visually impaired and blind individuals in Pennsylvania.

Laurie Staph, President and CEO
of Keystone Blind Association

Since 1947, Keystone Blind Association (KBA) has been offering specialized services and support to help blind and visually impaired individuals build a brighter future. In 2000, after recognizing that other nonprofits serving this community struggle to fund their operations, KBA created Keystone Independence Management (KIM) to provide them crucial management and back-office services. By utilizing KIM services, outside agencies are able to downsize their costs and redirect their resources to programs that support their mission. At the same time, this forward-thinking business model provides KIM a source of additional revenue to grow its reach.

In 2002, KIM collaborated with Keystone Vocational Services and its partners to secure employment opportunities exclusively for individuals with vision loss or other disabilities through its Human Services and Employment Capacity Building program. This unique partnership-driven program seeks out federal and state contracts and other work that can be performed by individuals with disabilities. Employees earn market wages and benefits, and work in an environment that is competitive and fully integrated. The program also provides access to services to help KIM employees build a more independent and opportunity-filled future.

“Our group of agencies has learned how to effectively collaborate with each other and with community partners, leveraging our respective strengths to serve the greater good. Today, we are one of the largest combined employers of visually impaired and blind individuals in Pennsylvania,” said Laurie Staph, President and CEO of Keystone Blind Association. “We are proud of how our entrepreneurial approach has enabled us to further social change in a financially sustainable way.”

After losing my vision 20 years ago, at age 30, I knew I needed to have a reason to get up each morning. Keystone provided me with meaningful employment and the tools to succeed. They showed me that it’s never too late to have dreams and plans of your own.

David Miller, Keystone Vocational Services employee

640

Individuals with vision loss or other disabilities employed by KIM and partner agencies through October 2020.

24,969

Services provided by KIM and partner agencies during 2019.

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