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June 28, 2013, NEW YORK, NY — National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, marked the 75th anniversary of the formation of NIB and the passage of the Wagner-O’Day Act at an event in New York City. Representatives from its associated nonprofit agencies, corporate and government partners and elected officials joined NIB at Lighthouse International in Manhattan to honor the historic milestone.
The Wagner-O’Day Act, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, opened up government markets for products made by people who are blind. Through this landmark legislation, NIB and its nationwide network of 91 associated nonprofit agencies provide high-quality products and services to the federal government and military customers, while at the same time creating quality jobs for people who are blind. This is important, because 70 percent of working-age Americans who are blind are not employed.
“This year is a very special year for NIB and Americans who are blind,” said Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of NIB. “With the help of our partners, customers and supporters, NIB and its associated agencies continue to show the world that there are no limits to what people who are blind can do.”
New York State Senator Martin Golden, from Brooklyn's 22nd Senate District, attended the event and expressed his support and appreciation for NIB’s mission and contributions to the blindness community. NIB received a personal letter of commendation from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a proclamation declaring June 27, 2013 “National Industries for the Blind Day” in New York City.
New York City was a fitting location for the event because of NIB’s strong historical ties to the Empire State. Senator Robert Wagner and Congresswoman Caroline O’Day, both from New York, authored the Wagner-O’Day Act, and NIB opened its first office in New York City. Last year, NIB assumed the day-to-day management of the New York State Preferred Source Program for People Who Are Blind, a state government purchasing initiative that employs more than 400 New Yorkers who are blind or visually impaired.
About National Industries for the Blind
For 75 years, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) has been focused on enhancing the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment. NIB and its network of 91 associated nonprofit agencies nationwide serve as the largest employer for people who are blind by the sale of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services through the AbilityOne® Program, established by the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act. For more information about NIB, visit www.NIB.org.
Vice President, Communications