How One Nonprofit Helps Blind Workers Find Jobs – SHRM

by | Aug 16, 2022 | Jobs

​People who are blind play an integral role in the federal government’s operations.Since 2010, National Industries for the Blind (NIB), a nonprofit in Alexandria, Va., has paired employees who have visual impairments with contract management support (CMS) services jobs in support of the federal government.The CMS program allows government personnel to focus on mission-critical functions and creates career opportunities for people who are blind, according to Kevin Lynch, NIB president and CEO.”The program’s goal is to mitigate the critical government shortage of contract specialists by leveraging a talented workforce of people who are blind,” he said.Lynch explained that CMS employees review contracts, verify that the government received and accepted the contracted goods or services, and identify funding that wasn’t used due to myriad reasons such as delayed hiring or lengthy product development timelines.Through the program, nearly 130 CMS employees have transitioned into full-time positions with government or private-sector employers, including aerospace companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.”While we hate to lose employees, this is a good problem to have—it means our employees are doing outstanding work and building professional careers in government contracting,” Lynch said.[SHRM members-only resource: Attracting and Retaining Workers with Disabilities]A Firsthand AccountIn 2011, the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Rock Island, Ill., had nearly 10,000 completed contracts related to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Government personnel partnered with the Chicago Lighthouse, an NIB-associated nonprofit a …

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