Fredrene Balanay, left, who is blind in one eye and only partially sighted in the other, undergoes training on using a computer with adaptive software for the visually impaired at Valley Center for the Blind. On the right is Tom Randall, her assistive technology instructor. 2019 File Photo
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fresno-based Valley Center for the Blind has been awarded a five-year, $811,000 contract to provide call center services for Fresno County.
Valley Center for the Blind (VCB) provides training and vocational opportunities to its clients who are fully blind and strongly visually impaired.
For the county, VCB participants will answer incoming county operator telephone calls, operate the county’s info line serving individuals with disabilities, work with other county employees to staff the Covid-19 resource line and other outbreak management functions.
VCB has been providing contact tracing services throughout the pandemic as part of the county’s Disability Equity Project. Those outbreak management services will continue under the Department of Public Health.
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors determined it was in the best interest of the county to suspend the competitive bidding process for the contract “for unusual or extraordinary circumstances.” The Valley Center for the Blind is the most cost-effective service provider for these services, according to a county staff report.
The three-year agreement includes two optional one-year extensions for a total not to exceed $811,000.
“VCB stepped into the Disability Equity Project Coalition as an eager partner. VCB was mentored by the lead organization Exceptional Parents Unlimited and quickly emerged as a leader in aspects of the Disability Coalition’s COVID-19 response. VCB efforts are being recognized nationally and statewide as a model program not only in the COVID-19 response, but also for workforce development for the visually impaired in our community,” stated Joe Prado, assistant director of the Fresno County Health Department.