Lighthouse for the Blind expansion bringing jobs to Spokane



Posted on March 17, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 8:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash-- Officials at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Spokane said an expansion projected to be complete in April would create twice as many jobs for visually impaired workers over the course of five years.

The Lighthouse for the Blind has given jobs to visually impaired people across the nation. The company’s focus is on manufacturing office supplies for government offices.
In March 2014 the Spokane facility had more than 50 visually impaired employees that worked on assembling and packaging thousands of wallboards each month. Many were also assigned to the aerospace department where staff assembled special parts for Boeing airplanes.  
The company planned to add an extra line of wallboards and 42,000 square-feet of manufacturing space.
The company gave a second chance to one employee, Steve Smith, a former construction worker who lost his vision in 2008.
“I love building things,” Smith said. “Building is my life.”
After losing his vision, Smith was able to run a file folder machine for the Lighthouse for the Blind.
“Most of the machines here are geared so blind people can operate them,” he said.
The Lighthouse for the Blind Development Director, Shawn Dobbs, said 15 people were on a waiting list to get similar opportunities.
Dobbs said the expansion would create room for some of those people.
“This is awesome because it means we are going to employ more people who are blind or visually impaired,” he said.
Dobbs said the public would get a chance to see the facility at a grand opening celebration scheduled for May 7, 2014.