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Gov. spends morning working as blind man to recognize Disability Employment Awareness Month

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Gov. Gary Herbert took time at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Monday, to experience what a blind woodworker goes through to do his job.

“It is a little bit scary,” Herbert said, after cutting a wood board with another blind woodworker helping him. “I mean, it's just total black -- and to hear the saw whirring, you know and saying I don't want my fingers too close to those saws.”

He joked, but the governor said, he understands the long learning curve and the trust involved in learning a skill like woodworking while being visually impaired.

As he continued his tour at the facility, he also learned how to use a walking cane.

“We are actually going to manipulate it almost like a nutcracker with an open and a closing action,” said one instructor who was guiding Herbert.

The governor’s visit not only recognized Disability Employment Awareness Month, but also marks the approval last spring’s House Bill 325.

The bill moves the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation from under the Department of Education to under the Executive Branch, to the Department of Workforce Services.

The USOR helps more than 50,000 people with disabilities find employment. Herbert said the transition will better support those people to build the skills and seek the jobs they want under the guidance of DWS.

“We look for opportunities to hire good people and certainly on the disabled community there is a lot of good capable people,” the governor said.

To find out more about why the USOR transitioned to DWS click on the link below: