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Virginia Industries for the Blind

Brief history of the Virginia Industries for the Blind

On March 23, 1922 the Virginia General Assembly passed H.B. 117, an act creating the Virginia Commission for the Blind.
The Virginia Association of Workers for the Blind raised the funds necessary and established the Virginia Workshop for the Blind in a temporary location on South Fourth Street, East, Charlottesville. The workshop opened its doors for the first time on August 5, 1925 with an emphasis on training blind men to make brooms, mattresses, weave willow baskets and cane chairs.
Through private donations and subscriptions and on a 1.45 acre site a three story factory was constructed on Monticello Road and opened on January 1. Since then it has undergone numerous expansions and upgrades, the last of which was completed in 2001.
By a special act of the Virginia General Assembly, the Charlottesville facility was purchased by the state from the Virginia Association of Workers for the Blind.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Wagner-O'Day Act which provides an opportunity to sell blind made products to the Federal Government.
An end of Fiscal Year 1939 (June 30) Production Report shows 2,703 mattresses were made and renovated; 16 box springs made or re-upholstered; 26 wrestling mats made or reconditioned; 1,104 chairs re-seated; 382 pillows and cushions made or reconditioned; 1,985 dozen brooms, 16 door mats and 210 willow baskets produced.
The Virginia Industries for the Blind (VIB) establishes a training center in Richmond.
NIB launches SKILCRAFT, the brand name for quality consumer products made by people who are blind.
VIB completes construction of its second manufacturing facility, this one in Richmond on High Street.
Senator Jacob K. Javits sponsors legislation adding the purchase of services and including agencies serving people with other severe disabilities to the original Wagner-O'Day Act. The legislation becomes known as the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (JWOD).
July 1, 1973, the name "Workshop for the Blind" was officially changed to Virginia Industries for the Blind (VIB).
Virginia General Assembly withdraws state financial support, making VIB a self-supporting agency, operating from the revenues generated from the sale of products manufactured and services provided.
December marked the start of the first Service operation provided by VIB. A Customer Service (order taking) department was established at the General Services Administration (GSA) Franconia Supply Center in Springfield Virginia.
VIB is certified for association with National Industries for the Blind (NIB) programs.
Virginia Department of Taxation and VIB team up to provide a Court Debt Collection service.
VIB opened its first two Base Supply Centers (the sponsoring agency was the Defense Supply Service Washington (DSSW)) in Rosslyn and the Skyline Building, Crystal City, Virginia.
VIB begins providing contracted Retail operations support services, first at the Norfolk Navy Base Super ServMart and then expands to provide similar support operations at other DoD agencies.
Langley Air Force Base Postal Center contract is awarded to VIB to provide services entailing receiving, processing, distributing mail and directorizing mail; base locator services; managing receptacles; and providing customer services.
VIB opens an Individual Equipment Element (IEE) and Base Supply Center retail store at Langley Air Force Base, Hampton, Virginia.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center in the Presidential Towers building in Crystal City, Virginia.
VIB opens five Base Supply Centers:
  • Hoffman Building, Alexandria, Virginia
  • AMC Building, Crystal City, Virginia
  • Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia
  • Fort Lee, Petersburg, Virginia
  • Jefferson Plaza, Crystal City, Virginia
VIB opens a Base Supply Center (Touch-n-Go ServMart) at Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Switchboard operation contract begins at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Salem, Virginia.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center on Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center on Fort Belvoir, Alexandria, Virginia.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center on the Defense Supply Center in Richmond, Virginia
Committee for Purchase changes the name of the program from the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Program (JWOD) to the AbilityOne program. The name and purpose of the act remain unchanged.
VIB begins providing Contract Management Support (CMS) services on a contract for Department of Defense and Federal agencies for Contract Close-out services.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center in the Mark Center Federal Building, Alexandria, Virginia.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center in the Defense Health Headquarters building in Falls Church, Virginia.
VIB is awarded two AbilityOne Procurement List assignments to provide multiple kitting services.
VIB opens a Base Supply Center in the Taylor Building, Crystal City, Virginia.