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Industries of the Blind lays off 40 in Greensboro, but most to be rehired

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Gracie Irving and her coworkers at Industries for the Blind help make 22 parachutes a day for the U.S. Military. (WGHP)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Industries of the Blind, a nonprofit that employs a large number of blind workers, reportedly laid off 40 employees last week.

According to the Greensboro News & Record, the majority of the employees who were laid off will be rehired within several weeks.

Industries of the Blind president David LoPresti tells the News & Record most of the workers who lost their jobs have sight.

More than 75 percent of the organization’s employees are legally blind, the paper reports.

The nonprofit, which typically maintains a workforce of between 200 and 230 people at its West Lee Street facility, manufactures and distributes military supplies through contracts with the Department of Defense.

LoPresti tells the News & Record a five-year contract for the making of a moisture-absorbing T-shirt for the Army recently ended, which prompted the layoffs.

However, the contract was just renewed.  The News & Record reports the nonprofit will rehire between 30 and 35 employees in a few weeks.

Industries of the Blind expanded in 2012 when it received contract extensions for manufacturing cargo containers and parachutes.


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