NIB Celebrates 82 Years

historic photo of female employee who is blind sewing superimposed next to a photo of a present-day female employee who is blind at a computer

For more than 80 years, NIB and its associated nonprofit agencies have embraced creativity and innovation to expand employment opportunities for people who are blind. Back when NIB was formed in 1938, society had a very limited view of what people who are blind could accomplish. Those who were able to find work were often limited to assembling mops and brooms, weaving rattan or caning chairs, or tuning pianos. The founding of NIB, with its mission to create, sustain, and improve employment opportunities for people who are blind, marked a turning point.

Today, we are living in a time unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. While unparalleled progress in technology is making the world accessible to people who are blind in ways never dreamed of, the global coronavirus pandemic is posing a once-in-a-century challenge. Through it all, NIB’s mission remains constant, as we find creative ways to overcome obstacles and open doors to new careers.

Examples of those efforts are found in the range of training programs NIB has developed to prepare people who are blind for careers in fields of their choosing. Our comprehensive Business Leaders Program begins with Leaders At All Levels, which teaches fundamental skills and qualities that enhance workplace effectiveness, and goes through Business Management Training, a 15-month program that develops critical business perspective and management abilities, taught by the George Mason University School of Business. Our ProMOTE training program provides computer users who are blind or have low vision with advanced training on the interaction of assistive technology and common workplace software applications. In addition, NIB offers career training programs in contract management, human resource sourcing, and information assurance.

People who are blind working at NIB associated agencies have stepped up to the challenges of the pandemic to manufacture or source personal protective equipment needed for the nation’s response to COVID-19. And they continue to keep America’s Defense Industrial Base strong by providing the U.S. military with critical products and are helping to maintain continuity and availability of essential services from closing contracts for the Department of Defense, managing supply chains that support military operations around the world, and answering calls to health centers placed by our nation’s veterans.

To learn more about our history of creating opportunities for people who are blind and read about their successes over the past 82 years, browse our Opportunity magazine online archive. As we mark another anniversary, NIB is proud to continue to empower people who are blind to choose their own career paths and chart their own journey to the American Dream.