Our History

Times were tough for just about everybody in 1933—perhaps the worst year of the depression. It was in that year that the first work program in North Carolina was organized for people who are blind. It was known as the Guilford County Association for the Blind. The Association was composed of six people; they made mops in a leased storefront.

Five years later, the Association became one of the first agencies to become associated with the National Industries of the Blind (NIB).  As an NIB agency under the new name of Industries of the Blind, Incorporated, the organization steadily grew. During World War II we employed 35 blind people, all of whom enjoyed a group medical plan and other benefits. The first portion of our building on Lee Street was constructed around this time.

A few decades later, in 1962, IOB, Inc. entered into its first one million dollar contract. Along with the growth of work opportunities came additions, improvements and renovations to our building.

In 2009, David LoPresti became our President. David and his capable team introduced new manufacturing methods and equipment that dramatically boosted output while almost eliminating error. The improved performance resulted in strong growth which in turn allowed the organization to employ over 200 people. IOB now routinely performs manufacturing and distribution for a variety of national companies, as well as various departments of the U. S. Government.

In 2013, we celebrated our 80th year of providing rewarding work for people who are blind, and quality products to all kinds of organizations.

Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act

The National Industries for the Blind was incorporated in 1938 as a result of the Wagner-O’Day Act, legislation that established a federal market for the purchase of products manufactured by organizations employing people with severe vision disabilities. The Act was amended in 1971 as the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act to provide for the purchase of both products and services and included federal purchasing from industries serving people with other significant disabilities. A sister organization was formed called NISH to represent these agencies with the federal government.

The Committee For Purchase From People Who Are Blind Or Severely Disabled is a small Federal agency, which administers the JWOD program. Their members include senior officials from major federal procurement agencies and private citizens representing people who are blind and otherwise severely disabled who are appointed by the President of the United States.

Visit The National Industries for the Blind or Skilcraft products for more information on the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act.

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