Fiscal year 2020 was a challenging one all over the world, and an extraordinary moment in NIB’s 82-year history. Not only did NIB rise to the demands of a once-in-a-century pandemic, it also made significant progress in its mission to grow employment for Americans who are blind.
NIB created 378 new employment opportunities for people who are blind in FY2020, increased labor hours and wages, and helped hundreds of people who are blind earn job promotions or obtain competitive positions inside and outside of its nationwide network.
These successes were made possible by the stalwart efforts of NIB associated nonprofit agencies across the country and the continued support of federal and military customers, industry partners, and the U.S. AbilityOne Commission®.
In FY2020, NIB expanded its award-winning training and professional development programs to help people who are blind build successful careers in any field they choose, and recognized key milestones such as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 25th anniversary of the AbilityOne Base Supply Center® program, and the 10th anniversary of the Contract Management Support program.
NIB also fiercely advocated for issues affecting the employment of people who are blind, including working closely with its associated agencies and other strategic partners to secure legislation that helps preserve hundreds of jobs for people who are blind whose work supports the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
These accomplishments – and many more – were made during the year of the coronavirus pandemic. With no playbook to draw on, the people in NIB’s network displayed extraordinary purpose and motivation to rise to the challenge and meet COVID-19 head-on. As part of the nation’s essential critical infrastructure, NIB associated nonprofit agencies remained open and provided federal customers with critical items, while also retooling operations to manufacture new products essential to the nation’s response. All the while, they kept America’s Defense Industrial Base strong by providing the military with uniforms and equipment needed to keep America safe.
This operational pivot and ability to meet the needs of customers during a national crisis is a shining demonstration of what makes NIB, its associated agencies, and the AbilityOne® Program great. As they have done in times of national crisis since the Second World War, people who are blind working at NIB associated agencies continue to quickly and nimbly answer the nation’s call to service.
As it closes the book on an unprecedented year, NIB is eager to begin writing the next chapter in its history and forge new pathways for employment in the year ahead.