You are here

National Industries for the Blind Marks 75 Years of Creating Employment Opportunities for People Who are Blind

New Survey Reveals More Education Needed to Reduce High Unemployment Among People Who Are Blind

Alexandria, VA, March 19, 2013 – This year marks the 75th anniversary of National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment and training resource for people who are blind. This milestone is a timely opportunity to raise awareness about the capabilities of this highly-skilled yet often misunderstood workforce.

Recognizing that 70 percent of working-age Americans who are blind are not employed, NIB recently commissioned a survey to better understand the attitudes of employers in America. According to the survey, conducted by Repass & Partners, Inc., a majority of those responsible for hiring in the United States believe there are few jobs in their organizations that a person who is blind can successfully perform. In addition, one third of managers engaged in the hiring process said candidates who are blind do not have the necessary experience needed for positions in their companies.

“Many companies understand that blindness should not be a barrier to employment,” said NIB President and CEO Kevin Lynch. “However, it’s clear from the results of the survey that there’s more work to be done. With a little education, we’re confident businesses will understand that hiring people who are blind simply makes sense.”

NIB will use the survey results to dispel the myths about what people who are blind are capable of in the workplace. NIB and its nationwide network of 91 associated nonprofit agencies will conduct a sustained, coordinated outreach effort to business, community and government leaders to showcase the wide array of jobs currently being performed by people who are blind.

“Individuals and businesses alike can get involved and change lives by purchasing products and services from NIB’s associated agencies, hiring qualified people who are blind to fill jobs, or partnering with NIB to create more employment opportunities,” concluded Lynch.

For 75 years, NIB has helped thousands of people who are blind actively participate in the workforce, advance their careers, and lead independent lives. Throughout its history, NIB has demonstrated the abilities of Americans who are blind and met federal and commercial customer needs by delivering a wide range of high quality products and services—from office supplies, cleaning products, and U.S. military equipment, to administrative, technology, and other professional support services. Today, NIB and its associated nonprofit agencies employ nearly 6,000 highly trained and capable people who are blind, who use their specialized expertise to meet exacting customer requirements.

The survey was conducted by Repass & Partners, Inc., a market/opinion research firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Interviews were conducted by telephone between November 12 and 29, 2012. Respondents who preferred to complete the interview online were allowed to do so via a secure online platform. A total of 401 interviews were completed. At the 90% confidence interval the overall margin of statistical error (MOE) is +/- 4.0 percentage points.


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, formerly known as the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Program. For more information on NIB and its 75th anniversary, visit

Laura Reimers
Vice President, Communications
(703) 310-0453