Minnesota State Services for the Blind

General Information

Minnesota State Services for the Blind
2200 University Avenue West
St. Paul Minnesota 1 55114-1840
(651) 539 2300

Brief Description

The mission of State Services for the Blind (SSB) is to facilitate the achievement of vocational and personal independence by Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind. At State Services for the Blind we provide the tools, training and technology to help people who are blind, visually impaired, DeafBlind or experiencing vision loss to live independently and to prepare for, find and keep a job. Our Communication Center produces material in alternate formats such as braille, digital audio, or eText. The Radio Talking Book as well as Dial-in News, and NFB-Newsline are also provided through the Communication Center.


Natasha Jerde, Director, natasha.jerde@state.mn.us

Edward Lecher, OIB Program Manager, edward.lecher@state.mn.us

Services Offered

  • Counseling
    • Offers counseling in adjustment to blindness.

  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Offers vocational rehabilitation services including rehabilitation counseling, braille instruction, travel training, I.L.S. training, assistive technology services. Provides independent living services to persons age 55 and older. Assists elderly blind or visually handicapped individuals to function more independently within their environment.

  • Employment/Job Training
    • Operates franchise operations for legally blind vendors. Provides vocational training, job placement.

  • Library Services
    • Maintains special library and transcription service providing reading material in alternate formats to citizens of Minnesota who have difficulty reading normal print.

  • Reading Services
    • Radio Talking Book (RTB), a closed-circuit reading network, broadcasts twenty-four hours daily to more than 7,500 persons who are blind visually impaired or print disabled (with a potential of 35,000) in Minnesota and South Dakota. Dial-In News (newspapers accessed by touchtone phone). 651-649-5905 or 800-652-9000.

  • Services for Seniors
    • Assists blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind Minnesotans age 55 and older regain or maintain their personal independence. Such services do not focus on employment. Rehabilitation staff provide services statewide across three different levels, according to customer needs: informational, assessment (including guidance on possible low vision aids or other devices), and intensive. In intensive services, the customer receives help via a plan for needs ranging from braille and cane travel instruction to money and household management skill development. Senior services are provided to individuals or groups of individuals by SSB staff and private contract vendors.