The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
Resources for Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired highlighted during Braille Literacy Month
January 11, 2024
LANSING, Mich. — To recognize the braille reading system’s impact on individuals who are blind or visually impaired and to call attention to the invaluable services and resources that enable Michiganders to learn and enhance their reading skills, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed January as Braille Literacy Month in Michigan.
In addition to January’s recognition as Braille Literacy Month, Jan. 4 also marked the annual celebration of World Braille Day to honor the birthday of Louis Braille, who created the code in 1824. The Braille system enables individuals to read with their fingertips using a system of six raised dots, laid out in a six-pack formation. It also helps individuals who are blind or visually impaired in the workplace and classroom and assists with helping them learn about grammar, spelling and punctuation.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Bureau of Services for Blind Persons facilitates various braille services and resources in the state. Their Training Center, located in Kalamazoo, offers courses on braille that are designed to prepare students with the fundamentals of this reading/writing system, including identifying the braille alphabet, braille numbers, common punctuation and reading comprehension. They offer courses in-person and virtually.
“The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons offers a variety of customized solutions to help blind or visually impaired individuals achieve employment and independence,” said Bureau of Services for Blind Persons Director William Robinson. “We encourage anyone who may benefit from our services – whether that is becoming a patron of the Braille and Talking Book Library, instruction at our Training Center or vocational rehabilitation services – to reach out so we may assess your needs and help you set and achieve your goals.”
The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons is Michigan’s vocational rehabilitation agency for blind, deafblind and severely visually impaired individuals. Providing workplace readiness training and other vocational rehabilitation services through seven field offices, they empower people who have vision loss to achieve their employment goals. The agency also works with businesses to provide access to individuals who are blind, deafblind and severely visually impaired, opening the doors to career pathways.
The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons provided valuable independent living and workplace readiness skills to 248 Michiganders through its Training Center during fiscal year 2023. The agency also supports blind entrepreneurs offering food services in state and federal buildings.
The Braille and Talking Book Library, located in Lansing, ensures print material is available to all Michiganders unable to use standard print materials. In fiscal year 2023, the library served more than 8,700 patrons, disseminating nearly 690,000 audio books.
For more information about the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, visit Michigan.gov/BSBP.
###The programs described in this press release are funded as follows: Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funded 78.7% through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and 21.3% through State funding; Independent Living Older Blind (ILOB) funded 90% through a grant from the USDOE and 10% through State funding; Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) funded 100 percent through the USDOE VR grant. For the federal fiscal year 2023, federal grant funds were as follows: VR $19,146,385; Pre-ETS reserve included in VR $2,871,958; ILOB $994,565.