Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired

Introduction to Business Relations Services

Introduction to Business Relations Services

The Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) is pleased to announce the addition of the new DBVI Business Relations Unit. The unit will have a statewide impact on individuals with vision impairments in reaching their career goal of sustainable employment. The Business Relations Specialists will work with employers in recruiting a highly skilled, pre-screened pipeline of talent. The team is well versed in services for employers including, federal contractor hiring (503c), corporate initiatives, workforce diversity and inclusion, worksite consultations, job retention and the many incentives for hiring individuals with abilities.

Regional Contact Info | Staff | Incentives Available for Employers

The goal of the DBVI Business Relations Specialist Team is to support employers with their hiring needs.


Photo of DBVI Business Relations team

DBVI Business Relations Specialist Contact Information

   Western Regional Business Relations Specialist:
    Ray Williams (540) 492-5993

   Northern Region Business Relations Specialist:
    Diane McBride (540) 692-3816

   Director of Business and Corporate Initiatives:
    Cindy Roberts(540) 649-4448

   Central Region Business Relations Specialist:
    Karen Kahn (804) 539-6702

   Eastern Region Business Relations Specialist:
    DeAngelo White (757) 466-4165

    Business Relations Specialist:
    David Bowers (276) 642-7300

Workforce regional map

DBVI Workforce Staff

Cindy Roberts, Director of Business and Corporate Initiatives

Photo of Cindy Roberts

Cindy Roberts, known across the state for her high energy and innovative thinking, is a seasoned veteran in the world of workforce development. With well over 20 years' experience in this arena, she brings to DBVI, knowledge of corporate initiatives, rules and regulations surrounding federal contractor hiring (503C), expertise in the utilization of work experiences and paid internships and training in Disability Awareness. Ms. Roberts is well connected with economic development, Workforce Investment Boards, Chamber of Commerce and has held board seats on several non-profit organizations. Ms. Roberts has provided training in many areas surrounding the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, in state as well as out of state. She was honored by the Virginia Rehabilitation Counseling Association, with the "Counselor of the Year" Award and given the "Emerging Leader" Award, given by the Virginia Rehabilitation Association. She was honored most recently with the MVP Award for the Northern Virginia Area. You can reach Cindy at or (540) 649-4448.

Diane McBride, Northern Region Business Relations Specialist

Photo of Diane McBride

Prior to joining DBVI, Diane McBride worked as an Employment Placement Counselor with DARS where she developed business and community partnerships to facilitate employment for people with disabilities. She also worked with local employers to give transition and graduating high school students with disabilities, the opportunity to gain valuable work experiences. She also has experience working with federal contractors in assisting them to meet portions of their 503c obligations.

Drawing on her many years of sales and marketing experience with companies such as ParaMed and Allergan Inc, she now utilizes this experience to develop new opportunities and partnerships for employment opportunities for DBVI clients.

She has a passion for wanting to share information about services and the many benefits of hiring veterans and people with disabilities. She enjoys giving Disability Awareness presentations and participating in business and community events that include career fairs and conferences. You can reach Diane at or (540) 692-3816.

Karen Kahn, Central Region Business Relations Specialist

Photo of Karen Kahn

Karen Kahn graduated from West Virginia University with a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling and received a graduate certificate in Job Development and Job Placement for Individuals with Disabilities from George Washington University. Before joining DBVI, Karen worked as an Employment Resource Technician with the Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and as a Job Developer with Henrico County Dept. of Social Services. She received the Roy J. Ward Leadership Award presented by the Virginia State Rehabilitation Council. You can reach Karen at or (804) 371-3140.

DeAngelo White, Eastern Region Business Relations Specialist

Photo of DeAngelo White

DeAngelo is a career developer and coach who believes clients who prepare will overcome barriers to employment. He founded a full service Employment and Resource Center serving 350 prisoners at St. Brides Correctional Center. Additionally, he often drives around Hampton Roads ambushing local businesses requesting to speak to someone in Human Resources and then asks them, "May I help you hire some great people?" He enjoys collecting photos of his clients at work on their new jobs. You can reach DeAngelo at or (757) 466-4162.

Ray Williams, Southwestern Region Business Relations Specialist

Photo of Ray Williams

Ray Williams comes to DBVI with 6 years of experience with Disability Services Agencies. Beginning his tenure as a support tech with the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Ray has excelled to hold positions such as Job Placement Specialist with DBVI; Placement Counselor for DARS, and is now excited for his role as Workforce Specialist at DBVI. He is committed to the highest standards of service delivery to the clients he serves. Ray, also, brings with him 20 years of business-to-business direct sales including, cold calling, employer presentations and business contract writing. He has worked for both the for-profit and non-profit arenas in his roles as Development Manager for the United Way and Regional Sales Manager for Coca-Cola. It is Ray's mission to bring awareness and education to all employers to demonstrate the value of working with individuals with disabilities and assist agency clients in becoming gainfully employed and successful in their career paths. You can reach Ray at or (540) 492-5993.

David Bowers, Business Relations Specialist

Photo of Ray Williams

David Bowers serves as the Business Relations Specialist in the Bristol Regional Office, serving in a part-time capacity. He retired from Frontier Health in December 2013. He brings a wealth of information from his previous positions in the human services field. He served as the Director for the Adult Housing and Peer Support Center, is a certified Peer Counselor, as well as a trainer in the area of Human Empowerment and Leadership Principles. He was also responsible for training new employees. He has extensive knowledge surrounding services to the homeless and is well known and respected in the Southwest Region for his dedication to helping those in need. DBVI welcomes David to the Business Relations Unit, and the relationships he has quickly established within the business community! You can reach David at or (276) 642-7300.

Incentives Available for Employers

Work Experience (WE):

Through a work experience program, a business agrees to assist the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired consumer in learning about a career first hand. DBVI provides the consumer with maintenance that can be in the form of gasoline or meal allocation, while they train with the employer. The agency provides medical insurance for the consumer, as well as liability insurance in case of an on-the-job accident. Employers get a free, first-hand look at potential future employees. Consumers are not guaranteed a job, but will hopefully meet and work with one or more persons who may agree to serve as a reference.

On-The-Job Training (OJT) Reimbursement:

Employers who hire consumers of the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, may be reimbursed for on-the-job training costs. In such cases where employers provide on-the-job training, DBVI reimburses employers for up to 100 percent of the consumer's earnings for the training period.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC):

A tax credit is available to employers who hire persons with disabilities. The tax credit amounts to 40 percent of the first $6,000, or up to $2,400 in wages paid during the first twelve months for each new hire. WOTC is subject to reauthorization by Congress each year.

These programs are available to employers separately, or in any combination which best suits the needs of the business involved, and the client. For further information on any or all of these programs please contact:

Cindy Roberts, Director of Business and Corporate Initiatives,
(540) 649-4448,

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This File Was Last Modified: Friday July 28 2017