Microsoft Corporation awards COVID-19 Response Funds to support alternative transportation options for essential workers who are blind or visually impaired
May 15, 2020, Phoenix, Ariz. — Arizona Industries for the Blind (AIB) recently received an award from the Microsoft C19 Response Fund to fund alternative transportation for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The award will be used to provide transportation to and from AIB facilities, grocery stores, and medical providers for more than 50 AIB employees who are blind or visually impaired.
“Access to safe, affordable and reliable transportation has always been a key barrier to employment for people who are blind, said David Steinmetz, AIB Community & Public Relations Manager. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, service disruption to public transportation has impacted the ability for individuals who are blind to travel freely. For the safety of bus drivers and the riders, Valley Metro has implemented new policies including reduce service hours and limiting the number of passengers on buses. “If the bus has reached its rider capacity, bus drivers may not stop, leaving our employees stranded,” said Steinmetz.
The Microsoft C19 Response Fund, created and managed by Microsoft’s Datacenter Community Development team, is designed to support the evolving needs of communities that host Microsoft datacenters as they grapple with health, education, and everyday life needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic response. The team is committed to serving community needs and answering the calls for help and solidarity.
“Microsoft is honored to partner with Arizona Industries for the Blind and to help provide transportation alternatives for those who are visually impaired,” said Adonis Trujillo, Arizona Community Lead for the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development team. “The visually impaired are particularly affected during the pandemic as the public transportation they rely upon has been curtailed. Through this award, AIB will be able to fill that transportation gap for the region’s blind and visually impaired.
As the State’s largest employer for people who are blind, AIB ’s mission is to inspire individuals who are blind or visually impaired to reach their maximum potential by creating and sustaining employment opportunities while providing the highest quality products and services.