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IDBJob Opening

Updated: Mar 18

DeafBlind Specialist

Location: Des Moines, IA

Salary Minimum: $53,414.40

Salary Maximum: $81,348.80

Job Type:  Full-time

Agency:  131 Iowa Department for the Blind

Job Number: 24-01223

Post Close Date:  March 31, 2024

Point of Contact: Keri Osterhaus

To Apply:  All candidates are strongly encouraged to upload a cover letter and resume to the application.

Job Description:

Are you passionate about making a profound difference in the lives of individuals who are DeafBlind? Do you possess strong American Sign Language (ASL) skills and a deep commitment to helping indiviuals achieve their vocational goals? If so, the State of Iowa's Department for the Blind (IDB) has an exciting opportunity for you!

Position Overview: As a DeafBlind Specialist at IDB, you will join our dynamic Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) team based in Des Moines, Iowa. This role involves traveling across the state to serve clients statewide, providing crucial vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are DeafBlind and those who are blind and hard of hearing. Your mission will be to empower clients, enhance their employment prospects, and ensure they receive top-quality services.

Your key responsibilities will include:

ASL Fluency: You will be the bridge of communication for DeafBlind individuals, utilizing American Sign Language fluently. Your ability to adapt to their unique communication styles will foster trust and understanding.

Assessment and Goal Development: You'll interpret and analyze assessment data to develop tailored goals and activities within individual employment plans.

Pre-Employment Transition Services: In this critical role, you will provide vital services such as job exploration counseling, work-based learning opportunities, and counseling for post-secondary educational programs. You'll empower students who are blind and DeafBlind to build their self-advocacy and peer mentoring skills.

Consultation and Training: Collaborate with educators, rehabilitation providers, and employers across Iowa to ensure comprehensive support for DeafBlind individuals. Building strong relationships with employers statewide will be essential for assisting DeafBlind individuals in exploring careers and securing employment.

Client Services: Working closely with VR counselors, you'll identify the specific supports needed for DeafBlind clients to engage in successful and meaningful employment. Your role includes assessing communication, technology, and vocational needs, and guiding clients in explaining their qualifications and accommodation needs to employers and co-workers.

Capacity Building: Be a passionate advocate for equal access to services for individuals who are DeafBlind. Provide invaluable consultation and technical assistance agency-wide, including developing and delivering training on DeafBlindness. Your role extends to offering ongoing support and technical assistance to community rehabilitation providers.

Caseload Management: As a team player, you'll participate in regular meetings with VR counselors to coordinate services for DeafBlind clients. You'll spend the majority of your scheduled work hours in the community, engaging clients in various locations and conducting work-site assessments.

Our ideal candidate should possess the following qualifications:

Strong ASL skills and experience working with DeafBlind individuals.

Excellent communication, organization, and time management skills.

Dedication to empowering individuals with sensory challenges.

Willingness to travel extensively within the state (up to 4 days per week).

As a State of Iowa Employee, you will also receive a robust benefits package including:

Paid Time Off: Enjoy vacation, paid holidays, and sick leave with no limits on sick leave accrual.

Great Benefits: Excellent Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance Package.

Retirement Plan: IPERS Retirement package and an option for a deferred compensation plan.

Flexibility: Flexible Spending Accounts (medical and dependent care).

Life Insurance: Free Life Insurance.

Support: Employee Assistance Programs and Employee Discount Programs.

Professional Development: Numerous training and learning opportunities for career growth and professional development.

Purpose: The chance to make a meaningful impact on the lives of DeafBlind individuals.

Join Our Team: If you are passionate about enhancing the lives of individuals who are DeafBlind and possess the skills and commitment needed for this role, we want to hear from you! Help us shape a brighter future for our clients and the State of Iowa. Apply now and be part of a compassionate and dedicated team.

The State of Iowa is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. We encourage all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, to apply.


025 American Sign Language (ASL)

6 months’ experience in the actual using of American Sign Language to translate messages to others, train and supervise other translators/interpreters, or educate others on the role of interpreters.


752 Vocational Rehabilitation

6 months’ experience, 12 semester hours, or a combination of both that specifically relates to employment and training services for individuals with disabilities. That knowledge base will include an awareness of the unique needs of this population, laws relating to discrimination or reasonable accommodations, assistive technology, and an understanding of employment and training systems and services, especially as provided in Iowa.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in human service-oriented sciences, education, marketing or business and experience equal to three years of full time professional work;


the equivalent of three years of full-time experience as a rehabilitation counselor or teacher shall be considered as qualifying provided the employee has successfully completed training to meet the certification criteria established by the agency;


an equivalent combination of education and experience, substituting the equivalent of one year of full-time professional work experience for each year of the required education to a maximum substitution of four years.  

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