State of the Science Conference on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals who are Blind or VIsually Impaired. April 9th through 10th, 2014.

Commissioner Janet LaBreck

Although Commissioner Janet LaBreck lost her vision by the age of ten, she has never let her disability get in the way of her dreams. In 2007, after more than 20 years as an advocate for the blind community, LaBreck was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind by Governor Deval Patrick. As an ambassador for more than 30,000 legally blind residents, LaBreck has organized campaigns that have effectively increased employment opportunities for the blind. There is no better testament to her profound influence than the Commission’s award-winning internship program which is being replicated throughout the country.

Commissioner LaBreck has an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the New England College of Optometry, a Masters of Education degree from Springfield College and Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

In August of 2013, the United States Senate confirmed Commissioner LaBreck as the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the United States Department of Education. In 2013, the Urban League of Springfield selected Commissioner LaBreck as their Urban League 2013 Community Builder Award Recipient, as a result of her exemplary leadership and commitment to build strong and vibrant communities. In 2013, President Barack Obama announced some key administration posts, including his intent to nominate Janet L. LaBreck as Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the United States Department of Education. In 2012, Commissioner LaBreck was recognized by Healing Winds, the Lanesboro, MA-based American Indian cultural and educational non-profit organization as the 2012 Rock, Rattle & Drum honoree. In 2011, Commissioner LaBreck was the recipient of the “Profiles in Vision” award, given to her by the New England College of Optometry for her pioneering efforts and extensive involvement in the launching of the New England Eye On-Sight Mobile Eye Clinic. In 2010, she was presented with the Heroes Among Us Award by the Boston Celtics and the Massachusetts State Lottery. In 2008, New England College of Optometry selected her to deliver the first commencement address in the history of the college to be delivered by a person who is blind.