Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 44

FOCUS

MARKETS

"It seems there's nothing our engineers
can't train employees who are blind to do,"
says Gary Colello, NIB's director of textile
product development. "Their innovation
allows employees to do things you couldn't
imagine; people who can't see the needle
or thread are able to make a perfect seam
every time."
When NIB's engineers visit an agency, they
first assess the process to identify improvement
opportunities. Then, working with the host
agency, they determine which operations and
employees should be prioritized and work
one-on-one with individuals to teach them
how to sew and thread machines. If a piece
of equipment is new, the engineers typically
install a jig or fixture to help a person who is
blind operate it safely and more effectively.
"We often bring customers, government
officials or anyone with misconceptions about
Manufactured for the Department
of Defense by IFB Solutions, these
fuel handler coveralls provide flame
and contaminant resistance as well
as environmental and electrostatic
protection. Photo: IFB Solutions.

An employee who is blind produces hand sanitizer at Austin Lighthouse
for the Blind in Texas. Photo: Austin Lighthouse.

what people who are blind can do into our
facilities to see the work being done, and they
walk away with a whole new perspective," says
Donielle Lorelli, associate product manager.
"The quality is phenomenal because these
employees take so much pride in their work."
Even the less complex products necessitate
intense training. Most agencies have rigorous
programs in place that address the various
skills new employees must learn, Colello says.
It usually takes a few months before employees
are on their own on the production floor.
In addition to the support of its engineers,
NIB provides education on hiring employees
who are blind and assessing their skill levels,
resources for mobility instruction, grants
and other financial incentives, and training
specific to accessible technologies such as
screen readers and other software programs.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Though not as immediately obvious,
challenges stretch beyond training the
workforce. In fact, finding the workforce is
the first-and perhaps largest-hurdle. NIB
and its agencies are not alone in their struggle
to recruit and retain employees within the
U.S. textile industry.
"If you're in a sparsely populated area
with very few people who are blind, you
may be reaching across many miles to find
employees and offering relocation packages
to encourage those who are qualified and
able to work to join your team," Colello says.
"Then, you have to step back and figure out
how these employees can travel to work every
day." Many NIB agencies in larger cities help
coordinate public transportation options
for their employees who are blind. In more
rural areas, some provide it themselves via
van carpools.
Discussing logistics like these is one of
many reasons why networking is a valued
benefit of NIB's partnership. "NIB and its
associated agencies are very much a family,
and a lot of them are open and willing to help
each other with anything from streamlining
processes to offering recruiting and training
tips," Lorelli says.
NIB's annual Textile Apparel Group
Conference provides agencies the opportunity
to share best practices and is attended by
representatives across the supply chain,

44 REVIEW NOVEMBER 2020

1120RV_p40-45.indd 44

10/19/20 1:09 PM



Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 4
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 5
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 6
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 7
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 8
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 9
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 10
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 11
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 12
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 13
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 14
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 15
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 16
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 17
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 18
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 19
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 20
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 21
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 22
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 23
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 24
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 25
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 26
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 27
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 28
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 29
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 30
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 31
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 32
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 33
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 34
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 35
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 36
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 37
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 38
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 39
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 40
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 41
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 42
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 43
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 44
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 45
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 46
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 47
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 48
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover3
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover4
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - FabCon21
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-september-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-buyers-guide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-april-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-buyers-guide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0121RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1220RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1120RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1020RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0920RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0820RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0720RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0620RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0520RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0420RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0320RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0220RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0120RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1219RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1119RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1019RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0919RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0819RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0719RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0619RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0519RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0419RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0319RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0219RV_Feb
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0119RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1218RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1118RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1018RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0918RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0818RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0718RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0618RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0518RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0418RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0318RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0218RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0118RV
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com