They handle military contracts worth millions of dollars, all while being visually impaired and sometimes even legally blind.
It takes quite a bit of work to sift through the 186,000 military contracts. And it takes a little more for those at the Army Contracting Command when you can't always see what you're doing.
"This right here helps me zoom in and I can pretty do anything it takes to get the job done, right here," says Joseph Hatler, Warehouse Specialist.
Hatler helps inventory the boxes and boxes of contracts. He is also visually impaired.
"It's not like I can't see anything, but it is difficult to see detail, small things, as far as driving or reading fine print," Hatler adds.
The Chicago Lighthouse program helps those like Hatler find a job. With their help, he was able to make the jump from bus-boy to working on the Rock Island Arsenal.
"I have a lot of pride in it," Hatler explains. "A lot of people think it should be a setback, something they shouldn't be able to get past - but this provides confidence for the future for other people as well."
And he's not alone. There's now more than a dozen workers helping complete contracts.
"It's kind of refreshing, we're all in the same boat, we can all ask the same questions," says Jean Rauschenbach, Contract Specialist.
Rauschenbach says she also struggled with jobs in the past.
"It hasn't been easy," she adds. "It has not been easy."
"They had college degrees but they weren't doing jobs that were college level," says Elliott Boston, Director of Contract Management Services for Chicago Lighthouse. "I can see the frustration in their face when I hired them on."
But with the help of some innovative equipment, people like Jean Rauschenbach can do their work with confidence.
"It's kind of nice knowing I don't have to fake my way through it," Rauschenbach adds. "Sometimes when I work other places, you have to make it look like you're doing better than you are. Here we don't have to do that. We just are 'hey I can't see this, what does it say?" There's not a lot of pressure to be more than you are. That's really nice."
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