November 14, 2013
by David Crary
CAMBRIDGE — In the late 1980s, when Maura Mazzocca was a human resources administrator with a Boston-area firm, a blind man showed up to apply for a job. She remembers the encounter ruefully.
“What I kept thinking about was, ‘How can this man work in a manufacturing company?’ ”Mazzocca recalled, saying she looked past his abilities and saw only his disability. “I wish now I’d given him a chance.”
That reflectiveness is heartfelt. Mazzocca lost her own eyesight in 1994 through complications related to diabetes. Now, as a job seeker herself, she knows firsthand the many hurdles the blind must overcome in pursuit of full-time work.
At a job fair last month for blind and low-vision people, she was going table to table, with a sighted volunteer by her side. Some of the other 80 job seekers carried white canes, and a few had guide dogs.
Mazzocca was greeted with firm handshakes and encouraging words — but none of the employers she spoke with had job openings matching her interests and qualifications.