For decades, jobs in textile and apparel manufacturing have been on the decline across the U.S. Texas is no exception, but one Dallas nonprofit is training people to work with textiles … people who are visually impaired.
On a busy Dallas street, next to a bank and a Kroger supermarket, there’s something you might not expect: Dozens of people manufacturing products on a factory floor bigger than a football field. They’re making pens and sunglass cases, shirts and vests. Trilon Lias, who is blind, is sewing pockets on bright orange safety vests. He uses a custom-made plastic guide to help line up the edges of his work.
Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind is a nonprofit that has been in business since 1931. Most of the products employees produce here are old school: markers, highlighters and custom binders for the Navy and Air Force. When Hugh McElroy took over as CEO a year and a half ago, the nonprofit’s reliance on government contracts was a big concern.