Jacqui Bybee & Brenda Cavenaugh
 Randolph-Sheppard
Business Enterprise
Program
• Priority to operate food service facilities on
federal properties
• “For the purposes of providing blind persons
with remunerative employment, enlarging the
economic opportunities of the blind, and
stimulating the blind to greater efforts in
striving to make themselves self-supporting”
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Significant
changes since its enactment
in 1936
 Mini
R-S Act
 Private sector
 Types of facilities
 Sub-contracting
 Franchising
 Average
earnings in 2010 - $56,168
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Steady
decline in the number of blind
entrepreneurs and facilities
• 1994 – 3,524 blind entrepreneurs and
3,419 facilities
• 2001 – 2,711 blind entrepreneurs and
3,194 and facilities
• 2010 – 2,319 blind entrepreneurs and
2,514 and facilities
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Growing
opportunities outside R-S
Skills needed
Carryover perceptions
Disparities within states in number of
blind entrepreneurs and available
facilities
• Inability to cross state lines
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 Increase
the number of blind
entrepreneurs
 Increase
the number of facilities in all
sectors
 Market
 Build
the program
national brand recognition
 Enable
alignment of resources and talent
 Develop
resources and materials based on data
collected from BEP professionals and blind
entrepreneurs in order to enhance and grow the
program
• Marketing materials
• Resource guides
• Publications
• Training materials
• Reference materials
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75
closed and open-ended responses
44 respondents – state BEP directors
or their designees
Broad scope covering recruitment,
training, accommodations, standards,
program requirements, etc.
Used for several components of project
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 Goal:
Identify training needs for new BEP
staff and develop updated training in
response
 50+ training area needs assessed
 Closed and open-ended response
questions
 44 state directors or their designees
participated
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
Moore, E.J. (1999). Making the Randolph-Sheppard Program
More Competitive: Results of a National Training Needs
Assessment. RE:view. 31(2), 67-75.
• Surveyed 97 BEP business counselors about the most important
training topics for BEP staff
• Basic marketing and sales promotion
• Blind entrepreneur training and readiness for employment
• Human relation skills
• Surveyed 99 BEP blind entrepreneurs about most important
skills for BEP staff
• Business management skills
• Knowledge of food service
• Knowledge of customer service
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Mean Importance Scores of Training Needs Determined by BEP Staff
n
M
Marketing and customer service
41
6.27
Communication skills
42
6.07
Negotiation skills
43
5.88
Accounting and Taxation
41
5.85
Supervisory skills
42
5.81
Training skills
43
5.74
Knowledge of using AT in business settings
44
5.55
Healthy food options
42
5.55
Food service
41
5.49
New vending
41
5.32
Maintenance/repair skills for maintaining equipment
40
5.27
Security
41
5.24
Partnering/franchising opportunities
40
5.08
Knowledge of R-S Act
43
5.07
Knowledge of low vision technologies
43
5.00
Rehabilitation and blindness
43
4.98
The VR process
44
4.64
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Each
state develops its own training
curriculum and content
One national curriculum
• Minton, E.A., Spann, V.J. & Weston, E.A. (1985). Randolph-
Sheppard Management System. West Virginia Research and
Training Center, West Virginia Division of Vocational
Rehabilitation.
Few
states use this training curriculum
• Outdated
12
National
Online Training Curriculum for
BEP Staff
14 modules
• Modules based on research results
• Self-paced
• Free
• Supplement other training activities
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






Orientation to Blindness
Vocational Rehabilitation and How it Intersects with
Randolph-Sheppard
The Randolph-Sheppard Act and Its Implementing
Regulations
Active Participation – What It Is and What It Isn’t
Assistive Technology and Its Potential for Blind
Entrepreneurs
The Role of the Business Consultant
Business Principles of Managing a Food Service Facility
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Human Resource Management for the RandolphSheppard Blind Entrepreneur
 Marketing and Customer Service Relations
 Marketing the Randolph-Sheppard Program to Outside
Parties
 Teaming and Branding – A Way to Increase Income for
Blind Entrepreneurs
 Food Safety and Sanitation
 Changing Trends: Meeting the Challenges of Providing
Healthy Food Options
 Maximizing Opportunities for Blind Entrepreneurs with
a Hearing Loss

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 Bybee,
J. & Cavenaugh, B.S. (2014). RandolphSheppard National Online Training Curriculum for
Program Staff: Findings from a National Survey of
Randolph-Sheppard Directors. Journal of Visual
Impairment & Blindness. 108(2), 157-162.
 Second
publication on training needs of blind
entrepreneurs
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 Standardizes
knowledge across the entire
program
 Ensures comprehensiveness of training
 Allows for easier transition from one state
program to another
 May increase knowledge in key areas to
help enhance the program
17
Individuals
with dual sensory loss are at
greater risk for low employment
outcomes
How can an individual with a dual
sensory loss run a food service facility?
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 Jordan,
B. (2008). The Success of Blind Vendors
who also have Hearing Loss. Helen Keller National
Center. Shawnee Mission, KS.
• Surveyed 29 blind entrepreneurs with
hearing loss
• Blind entrepreneurs with hearing loss excel
in the Randolph-Sheppard Program
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 Goal:
Gain knowledge of working with blind
entrepreneurs with hearing loss through the
perspective of BEP professionals
 Contacted 29 state BEP directors that have
experience in working with blind
entrepreneurs with hearing loss
• Ask permission to contact other experienced BEP
staff and blind entrepreneurs with hearing loss
 Conducted
in-depth interviews
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43
participants from 14 states
• 16 (37%) BEP directors
• 5 (13%) Training staff
• 11 (25%) BEP counselors
• 11 (25%) Entrepreneurs with hearing loss
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BEP
staff confirmed that blind
entrepreneurs with hearing loss excel in
the R-S program
• No staff member felt that hearing loss was a
barrier to success
• Accommodations and communication
strategies available to meet any situation
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

“BEP staff members felt that training and working with blind
entrepreneurs with hearing loss did present some unique
situations for accommodation. However, an effective
solution was always found, and once found, it was no
different than working with any other entrepreneur in the
BEP.”
“Entrepreneurs with a vision and hearing loss said that the
most challenging aspect or their job is conducting daily
business operations including the balancing act of
maintaining proper inventory levels, keeping employees
happy, and delivering excellent customer service – the
same issues that any entrepreneur encounters when
running a business.”
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
Working with Blind Entrepreneurs who have a Hearing
Loss in the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise
Program Resource Guide
• Introduction to hearing loss and common accommodations used
• Working with blind entrepreneurs with a hearing loss in training,
on-the-job, and at state/national meetings
• Advice and experiences of BEP staff and blind entrepreneurs
• Suggestions for program improvement
• Resource list for accommodating

Available for free download at:
http://blind.msstate.edu/our-products/resource-guide/
• Under “Our Products” tab
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Average
age is around 50 years old
Why is this?
• Younger individuals have increased
opportunities outside the R-S program
• Misinformed about the program
Any
other ideas?
25
“Aging-out”
of blind entrepreneurs
17 states identified as having
recruitment practices for transition-age
• Job shadowing opportunities
• Summer programs
• Relationships with local schools
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 Conduct in-depth interviews
• Ask about recruitment practices
• Summer programs
• Activity at consumer groups
• Other opportunities for transition-age individuals
guide will be developed on “best
practices” for recruiting transition-age
individuals into the BEP
 Marketing brochure will be developed targeted
for transition-age individuals
 Resource
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Each
state has different entry-level
requirements
• High school diploma or GED
• 18 years of age
• Minimum mathematical and English
proficiencies
No
standardized list of preferred
qualities
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 Compile
minimum entry requirements for
each state BEP
• Useful tool to have all states’ requirements
combined in one document
 Identify
and compile a list of preferred
qualifications for BEP entrepreneurs
entering the program
• Useful tool to have a “master” list of recognized
skills necessary to be successful in the BEP
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 Compile baseline
• Net profit
• Gross sales
• Operating costs
facility performance data
• Computed based on figures from several states
across the country
• Listed by type of facility and area profile
• Useful as a supplemental resource for
assessing the viability of a current or future
BEP facilities
30
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Available
for free download at our
website: http://blind.msstate.edu/
• “Our Products” tab
Marketing
tool
Template for state-specific design
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Questions?
Comments?
Suggestions?
Points
of interest?
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Jacqui
Bybee
• 662-325-7824
• [email protected]
Project
website
• http://blind.msstate.edu/research/projects/
project.php?id=4
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