National Industries for the Blind will hold its national conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Richmond Hwy., Arlington, Va. 22202) from October 9-12 (see the full agenda here) in collaboration with the National Association for the Employment of the Blind. The annual Training Conference and Expo brings together hundreds of NIB partner nonprofit agency representatives, industry leaders, federal clients, and representatives from agencies and other partners to learn, network and exchange ideas. This will also take place during October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
At the Training Conference and Expo, NIB will honor the achievements of 73 Employees of the Year, blind people who have been selected from NIB’s national network of partner nonprofit agencies. On the evening of October 12, NIB will celebrate the national winners and all 2023 nominees.
The goal of the conference is to present a festival experience that highlights the activation of all the senses. While it will include traditional conference components – keynote addresses from government leaders, training sessions, and business and networking opportunities – it will also offer new features. The expo will showcase new technologies that can make jobs more accessible to blind employees. Two activated award walls will highlight employees of the year, as well as customer and business partner award winners.
The most interesting addition for 2023 is the resident artist, John Bramblitt. Bramblitt, who is blind, is an American artist living in Denton, Texas. Known for his bright colors and a style that mixes impressionism with the modern feel of pop art, he has murals in New York and Dallas. His works have been sold in more than 120 countries, he is a cultural ambassador of the United States and has received three awards for Presidential Service. He works as a museum consultant developing programs designed to include everyone, regardless of ability or disability.
When he lost his vision in 2001 due to complications from epilepsy and Lyme disease, Bramblitt’s hopes of becoming a creative writing professor were shattered and he fell into a deep depression. He then discovered the painting. He learned to distinguish colors by feeling textures. Using raised lines around the canvas and haptic visualization, he can “see” his subjects through touch. He paints incredibly realistic portraits of people he has never seen, including his wife and his son.
During the NIB/NAEPB Training Conference and Exhibition, Bramblitt will conduct studio art sessions for more than 70 blind and visually impaired employees. Bramblitt will also offer an open studio time during the Expo on Wednesday, October 11, from 9 a.m. to noon.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a national celebration of the contributions of America’s disabled workers, past and present. NDEAM showcases inclusive and supportive policies and practices that benefit both employees and employers. NIB and its national network of nonprofit agency partnerships are the nation’s largest employment resource for blind people and the largest employer of blind people in the country.
About National Industries for the Blind
Incorporated in 1938, NIB is the nation’s largest employer of blind people and, through its network of partner nonprofit agencies, the largest employer of blind people in the U.S. NIB creates opportunities for blind people. blind people become wage earners. and taxpayers, reducing their dependence on government support and increasing participation in their communities. The organization provides professional training and helps employers and employees develop mutually beneficial workplaces. The vision of the NIB is that blindness will not be a barrier to employment. In 2021, NIB launched a national talent management company known as NSITE. NSITE offers a number of employment services that connect employers with talented and dedicated people who are blind or visually impaired, including veterans. For more information visit www.nib.org either www.nsite.org.