Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) started in 1932 as a sewing project for blind women who had graduated from the Alabama School for the Blind. Today, AIB employs over 300 people, 75 percent of whom are blind or have vision loss. A satellite production facility has been in operation in Birmingham since 1986, and AIB also operates Base Supply Centers on military bases in Alabama and Georgia.
We are a National Industries for the Blind (NIB) affiliate and part of the AbilityOne Program. All employees receive at least the federal minimum wage with incentives paid for higher production. Unemployment is one of the most persistent problems facing people with vision loss - up to 70 percent are unemployed or underemployed. When people who are able to work are not given the opportunity, it costs us as a society, not just in money, but in productivity and loss of potential talent. By giving people who are blind or multidisabled a chance to work, AIB is supporting Alabama's economy.
Our customer base includes the federal government and U.S. military, Alabama state government including the Departments of Transportation, Mental Health and the Alabama National Guard; public schools and universities; Lions Clubs and Federated Women's Clubs of America, as well as a strong base of commercial customers.
AIB works under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Act, now called the AbilityOne Program, a federal law that makes our facility and others like us a mandatory source of supply for government agencies and departments. This AbilityOne Program is administered by the AbilityOne Commission an independent federal agency. The AbilityOne Program's mission is to provide employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the federal government. The Committee for Purchase establishes which items will be added to the JWOD Procurement List and the fair market prices for items.
In addition, the state of Alabama has a State Use Law which makes AIB and other Alabama agencies employing people who are blind or severely disabled a preferred source for state and local agencies and departments. By obtaining three quotes on all items, AIB assists agencies in complying with state bid law and provides a faster procurement process. Click to order a State Use Law catalog or order AIB manufactured products and many more AbilityOne products online. Visit our AIB Business and School Supply Store at 1209 Fort Lashley Avenue in Talladega or contact us at 800.801.9032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) is located at 1209 Fort Lashley Avenue in Talladega. We are somewhat flexible in our manufacturing capabilities, and welcome any opportunity to partner with other companies. Shop AIB for a full listing of our products or contact us at 800.801.9032 or email@example.com.
Sewing was our original occupation, and this remains a strong point for our organization. We have a large self-contained cutting room, and like all our production areas, the equipment is designed for maximum safety for our employees, whether sighted or not. A sewing production area hums with activity, producing a variety of sewn products such as deck swabs for the U.S. Navy, highway safety vests and pants, and canvas bags. A separate sewing area is home to our tie production department. We have been making ties for all branches of the military for many years, and our production teams in this department take great pride in the knowledge that they are making a contribution to our country's well-being.
The Industries began producing brooms in 1945 when men were added to the Adult Department for the Blind (the precursor to AIB). We sold brooms for years through the Lions Clubs of Alabama and still enjoy their support. Although brooms are no longer produced, we make string mops, including a special mop designed for use by the U.S. Navy. These mops contain no wire components, and so are completely biodegradable.
Smaller brushes include toilet bowl brushes and other scrub brushes ideal for use around the house. Child-sized brooms and mops are a perennial favorite with the younger set. Our NIB affiliates produce many other household items which are available for sale through our online catalog and at the AIB Business and School Supply Store, adjacent to our production facility in Talladega.
We also have a screen printing and embroidery department. We can take your design and create promotional t-shirts, canvas bags and other items. We also embroider in full color on high-quality golf or polo shirts. Small orders are welcome; we also have the capacity to produce in volume.
Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) opened a satellite location in Birmingham in 1986. Primarily a sewing production shop, we have produced thousands of American flags in addition to linens and other sewn goods. The shop is located in the same facility as the Birmingham Regional Center, in the city's Lakeside District.
The late Sara Chamblee was one of the first employees of Mattie Gilbert Smith's sewing project in 1932. "I often wondered if that little beginning would grow," she said in the late 1990s. "That was my dream, because there was so little work for blind people then....I never dreamed it would reach this proportion. No, it is not the end of my dream, for I am wishing that work opportunities would become so great that all blind adults could work."
Base Supply Centers
Today AIB also places emphasis on expanding job opportunities for blind adults through service-oriented employment, an important change for all NIB affiliates. Military bases across the nation are required under AbilityOne to purchase selected supplies from AIB and other facilities employing people who are blind. Base supply stores are an ideal outlet for training service and management personnel, and provide employment for people who are blind in a variety of locations. We currently have locations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, Moody AFB at Valdosta, Georgia, and Ft. Rucker in Dothan.