As Veterans Day approaches, NIB and its associated nonprofit agencies are proud to recognize the vital role veterans of the U.S. armed forces play in today’s workforce. As an organization, we’re honored to count more than 500 veterans as employees in our nationwide network of associated agencies.
Together with our associated agencies and our talent management enterprise, NSITE, NIB provides a range of services to veterans with and without disabilities and their families. Our employment services program helps veterans navigating the transition to civilian life with training, rehabilitation, job placement, and counseling. Our agencies create and sustain employment opportunities for veterans who are blind, visually impaired, or sighted. We know that the dedication of those who serve in the armed forces translates into invaluable experience and insight in the workforce.
Col. James E. “Ned” Rupp (USA Ret.) is an excellent example of the talented veterans working in NIB and its associated agencies. At the end of October, Col. Rupp retired from a 35-year second career with NIB, where he first worked to develop dozens of products, including military uniforms and equipment, that resulted in jobs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Later, he became NIB’s Veterans Affairs Specialist developing our Wounded Warriors program to open up employment opportunities at NIB associated nonprofit agencies across the nation for military veterans and spouses dealing with limb loss, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, and other disabilities, in addition to visual impairment or blindness. Over the course of more than a dozen years Col. Rupp represented NIB and later, NSITE, at veteran job fairs and events, providing career advice and assistance to countless veterans in transition as they worked to determine their next phase of life without the military and find employment opportunities that fit their backgrounds, interests, and goals.
NIB’s commitment to supporting our veterans through the work of people like Col. Rupp was recognized by the Coalition for Government Procurement in 2019, when it awarded NIB the Excellence in Partnership Award in the Advocating for Veterans category. The award honors organizations or individuals in the Department of Defense, civilian federal agencies, and private industry that promote and execute successful programs supporting veterans.
In addition to providing employment opportunities to veterans, NIB and its associated agencies support veterans and their families through work on contracts with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, people who are blind – including former service members – manufacture tens of thousands of prescription pill bottles for the VA’s mail pharmacy, as well as provide surgical gloves, medical kits, and nearly 1,300 other products used by the VA. In addition, people who are blind perform switchboard services for a number of VA medical centers, connecting veterans and their family members with medical assistance and resources around the clock.
For NIB and its associated agencies, honoring our veterans isn’t reserved for November 11, it’s a fundamental part of who we are. NIB recognizes the hardships and sacrifices members of the military, and their families make every day in service of our democracy and the American way of life. It is an honor to acknowledge and support them, whether that be through assisting with the transition to civilian life, delivering quality products and services to the VA, or providing meaningful employment that helps them thrive in the next phase of their journey.