Today, seven out of every ten blind adults are unemployed. For Deaf-Blind people, the unemployment number climbs to over 80% and for people with multiple disabilities over 90%. One-third of all blind people live in poverty.
The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. is among the largest employers of blind people and the foremost employer of Deaf-Blind people in the United States.
While our manufacturing operations, wages, and benefits are self-funded we face a funding gap in providing the mission-related costs crucial to giving blind individuals the support and skills to succeed.
To create and enhance opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.
Our Strategic Initiatives
To support our strategic plan of creating and sustaining 500 livable wage jobs by the end of 2016, we identified five key strategies to achieve this goal:
- Build our Core Manufacturing Capabilities
With the addition of a new robotic cell and a Visual Measuring Machine (VMM), we took steps in 2010 to increase the breadth of our manufacturing capabilities and increase the accessibility of manufacturing processes in our facilities.
- Develop Service Businesses
We launched a pilot program for Digital Data Scanning in 2010, as well as began framing infrastructure to support the expansion of our Contact Center.
- Physical and Geographic Expansion
With the addition of a new Base Supply Center (BSC) in North Fort Lewis, and the groundbreaking of the BSC at China Lake, CA, we are expanding our footprint to areas not serviced by other blindness organizations.
- Expand Accommodations and Training Opportunities
The Lighthouse received a generous grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound to update and expand the braille displays provided in our Computer Training Program, and received continued support from the Vinod K. Rajpaul Endowment Fund of The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to purchase equipment for our Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Program. We also added an Assistive Technology Instructor position as well as began providing O&M training to our team at Inland Northwest Lighthouse in Spokane.
- Expand the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation
With the addition of some exciting new faces to the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation Board, we continued the implementation of our fundraising plan to increase community support for mission-related costs and programs.