National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, has partnered with America’s VetDogs, a national nonprofit that trains and places guide and service dogs with veterans, first responders, and active duty service members with disabilities, to produce America’s VetDogs-branded dog collars and leashes. These products are intended only for personal pets, and they are available to commissary shoppers in 93 military retail installation locations.
NIB and its associated nonprofit agency L C Industries (LCI) began discussions with America’s VetDogs in 2018 and the organizations are excited to bring the partnership to fruition. Today, 10 LCI employees who are blind or visually impaired stitch, collate, and box the collars and leashes, aligning with NIB’s mission to provide meaningful employment for people who are blind.
LCI employees take immense pride in being part of this program. Joseph Florence, who works as a general assembler in Daytona Beach, said, “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to work with pet products for the America’s VetDogs program. It gives me a great sense of achievement that the leashes and collars we are producing are being used for military families, because my brother is in the military.”
Larry Mullis also works at the Daytona Beach LCI facility as a sewing machine operator. He said, “When I’m making this America’s VetDogs product, I treat it with respect because I know someone that served our country and their pet will be the beneficiary of this great product. I feel like I’m doing my part, because I was never fortunate enough to serve my country and, in this way, I feel like I can give back.”
LCI is one of NIB’s nearly 100 associated nonprofit agencies across the country. Together, NIB and its agencies employ more than 5,000 people who are blind and provide jobs for more than 500 veterans. For 85 years, NIB has paved the way for people who are blind to build successful careers, realize dreams like higher education and home ownership, and achieve personal and economic independence.
The partnership between NIB, LCI, and America’s VetDogs is made possible through NIB’s military resale (MR) program, which employs 425 people who are blind across 17 associated agencies nationwide. The MR program provides nearly 1,000 unique items made or packaged by people who are blind, including quality SKILCRAFT® products, a brand established by NIB in 1952.
For more information on National Industries for the Blind and the military resale program, visit www.nib.org/shopskilcraft.
For more information on America’s VetDogs and their guide and service dog programs, visit VetDogs.org.
About National Industries for the Blind
Incorporated in 1938, NIB is the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, and through its network of associated nonprofit agencies, is the largest employer of people who are blind in the U.S. NIB creates opportunities for people who are blind to become wage earners and taxpayers, reducing their reliance on government support and increasing engagement in their communities. The organization offers career training and assists employers and employees in developing mutually beneficial workplaces. NIB’s vision is that blindness is not a barrier to employment. In 2021, NIB launched a national talent management enterprise known as NSITE. NSITE provides a continuum of employment services that connect employers with talented, dedicated people who are blind or visually impaired, including veterans. For more information, visit www.nib.org or www.nsite.org.
About America’s VetDogs
For 20 years, America’s VetDogs has trained and placed guide, hearing, PTSD, and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its program to first responders. The nonprofit organization was founded by the Guide Dog Foundation. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place one assistance dog. America’s VetDogs provides its dogs and services at no charge to the veterans, first responders, and active-duty servicemembers the organization is honored to serve. Apply, volunteer, and donate at www.VetDogs.org.
L C Industries, Inc. (LCI) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit in the business of creating meaningful employment for people who are blind. Founded in Durham, NC, in 1936 as a manufacturer, our mission has propelled us to evolve and expand into third party logistics services, retail operations, and accessibility consulting. Today, we are one of the largest employers of Americans who are blind or visually impaired. LCI operates seven manufacturing facilities, three distribution centers, 59 retail locations, e-commerce web properties, and holds large government distribution contracts. While LCI is an incredibly diverse organization, the common thread throughout all business units is our dedication to creating meaningful employment for the blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit www.lcindustries.com or www.buylci.com.
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