Alliance to expand training and professional development for people who are blind
Alexandria, VA. — National Industries for the Blind (NIB) today announced a new strategic alliance with the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center to deliver world-class training and professional development for people who are blind.
The William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center, located in Wichita, Kansas, provides an unparalleled focus on training people with vision loss, placing them into jobs, and providing accessibility inclusion expertise to businesses. This joint initiative of Envision and LC Industries, two of NIB’s associated nonprofit agencies, challenges employers and communities to look beyond the horizon and transform the landscape of employment and independence for people who are blind or visually impaired.
“As technology evolves, and the demand for new workplace skills grows, organizations serving people who are blind must adapt and evolve as well. NIB, Envision, and LC Industries have been leaders in this change, and are now uniquely positioned to transform the employment landscape for people who are blind through the delivery of advanced training and professional development that will build the workforce of the future,” said NIB President and CEO Kevin Lynch.
NIB is the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind. For 80 years, NIB and its associated nonprofit agencies have created and sustained thousands of U.S.-based jobs for people who are blind in nearly every sector of the economy — from manufacturing to professional services. People who are blind working in NIB’s nationwide network earn competitive pay and benefits in quality, integrated workplaces, and have access to advanced training and development programs to help them succeed in any career they choose.
“We are pleased to be collaborating with National Industries for the Blind to create opportunities in professional, skilled positions for individuals who are blind or visually impaired,” said Mike May, executive director of the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center. “Our unified goal is to significantly reduce a 70 percent unemployment rate among that segment of the population that has remained too high for far too long.”
The NIB and BVI Workforce Innovation Center alliance will significantly expand opportunities for training and professional development of people who are blind, with the goal of creating 500 new jobs for people who are blind or visually impaired by 2022.
NIB’s announcement precedes the fall 2018 opening of its new headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia. NIB’s new headquarters will feature a 10,000-square-foot event and training center, which incorporates best-in-class accessible technology to enable people who are blind to access its award-winning training and professional development programs.
NIB has been an industry leader in providing training and professional development to people who are blind. NIB’s training programs have opened a world of opportunity for people who are blind to pursue careers in high-demand professional services positions, including contract management, Section 508 compliance, contact center operations, information assurance, and more.
NIB’s premier training program, the Business Leaders Program, was launched in 2003 to prepare individuals who are blind for successful careers in business. The Business Leaders Program offers six professional development tracks, including Business Management Training, a 15-month program in partnership with George Mason University that focuses on developing critical business, management, and leadership skills.
NIB provides other innovative employment training programs to help people who are blind succeed in a variety of professional services fields. Training programs include:
- Professional Mastery of Office Technology for Employment (ProMOTE): provides advanced workplace technology training to people who are blind.
- Information Assurance: prepares people who are blind with the knowledge and experience needed to earn information security certifications from the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).
- Contract Management Support: provides people who are blind with the technical skills needed for high-growth career opportunities in contract administration.
NIB’s alliance with the BVI Workforce Innovation Center will expand these training programs, and allow for new, innovative programs to be developed. Ultimately, the strategic alliance will expand employment opportunities for people who are blind, within and outside NIB’s network of associated nonprofit agencies.
A key tenant of the strategic alliance is open engagement with colleges, universities, government and industry in developing training programs. NIB and the BVI Workforce Innovation Center will leverage best-in-class training and education providers to deliver the best possible training programs for people who are blind to meet stakeholders’ ever-evolving needs.
NIB and the BVI Workforce Innovation Center plan to expand programs in several key areas, including training for veterans who are blind transitioning to civilian life, and an entrepreneurship program for people who are blind to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to run private businesses.
For more information about NIB’s training and development programs, visit http://NIB.org/training. To learn more about the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center, visit http://www.workforceforall.com
About National Industries for the Blind
Since 1938, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) has 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 associated nonprofit agencies are the nation’s largest employer of people who are blind through the manufacture and provision of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services of the AbilityOne® Program. For more information about NIB, visit NIB.org.
Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or low vision. Founded in 1933, Envision is one of the largest employers of individuals with vision loss in the nation. Headquartered in Wichita, Kan., Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration and opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research. For more information, visit www.envisionus.com.
About LC Industries
Founded in 1936, LCI (www.lc-ind.com) is the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the United States. Its mission is to provide meaningful employment for people who are blind. Since its founding, the company has grown to manufacture more than 2,500 different products and supply more than 4,500 products to military bases from its 36 Base Supply Stores and two distribution centers in Durham, N.C., and Las Vegas, Nev.