IFB Solutions to Hire 60 New Employees and Offer Specialized Training Thanks to City of Winston-Salem ARPA Grant

Winston-Salem nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest U.S. employer of people who are blind, plans to hire 60 new employees in the coming months. The majority of the new positions will be part of a textile manufacturing line producing cold weather gear and other specialty garments for the U.S. military. Like other IFB operations, the new manufacturing line will include positions for people who are blind as well as those who are sighted.

Mayor Allen Joines at IFB Solutions' Winston-Salem manufacturing facility.
Mayor Allen Joines tours IFB Solutions’ Winston-Salem manufacturing facility, which is set to expand production this fiscal year.

Because of the highly technical nature of the line’s sewing operations, IFB is expanding its textile training team and offering specialized training for employees. Funding for the enhanced training program was made possible by an ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grant from the City of Winston-Salem.

“When you provide training to an employee who has just secured his or her first job, you are setting them on a path to independence not just at work, but in life,” said Dan Kelly, IFB Solutions CEO. “For 38 percent of our employees who are blind, IFB Solutions is their very first job so it’s incumbent on us to give them the training and support they need to be successful. We’re incredibly grateful to the City of Winston-Salem for awarding us this critical grant to expand our employee training as we grow our organization.”

IFB’s mission is to provide life-changing opportunities for people who are blind through employment, training and services. Every IFB employee receives “wrap-around” services including job training, on-site medical care, transportation to and from work, a subsidized on-site canteen serving breakfast and lunch, and access to low-vision services at the Ronald G. Sherrill Community Low Vision Center on the IFB campus. Currently, IFB employs more than 450 people at its Winston-Salem facility.

“Nationally, we know that 70 percent of working-age adults who are blind are not employed, and finding an open position is just one facet of that statistic,” said Kelly. “Having access to reliable transportation to and from work is key as are on-site services like food and medical. We’re fortunate to have a supportive city and donor community whose generosity makes it possible for us to support our employees, blind and sighted, in these ways.”

IFB Solutions has already begun posting open positions on the Career Portal of its website, www.ifbsolutions.com. In addition to manufacturing positions, IFB also offers remote work opportunities and positions with its Base Supply Center division.

IFB Solutions Announces Dan Kelly as Incoming President and CEO

IFB Solutions Announcing Incoming President and CEO Dan Kelly

Media Contact: Laura Burrows, Two B Public Relations
laura@twobpr.com, 336-575-6757


Dan Kelly will be leading the nonprofit in 2023

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Sept. 14, 2022) – IFB Solutions, the country’s largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired, has named Dan Kelly as its next president and CEO. Kelly will begin leading the Winston-Salem-based nonprofit organization in January 2023, following the year-end retirement of current CEO David Horton.

Kelly, who has been blind since childhood, currently serves as IFB’s executive vice president of strategy and programs. He will be the organization’s first CEO who is blind. Prior to joining IFB in 2007, Kelly worked for National Industries for the Blind in Alexandria, Virginia. A competitive swimmer from age 12, he won 17 medals as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team and has completed a marathon, triathlons, long-distance open water swims and a 100-mile tandem cycling challenge.

“IFB Solutions is recognized across the country for its work creating jobs and building independence for people who are blind or visually impaired,” said Kelly. “It’s an incredible honor to serve as its next CEO and to continue the legacy of excellence established by David Horton, who I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside for 15 years as a mentor, friend and colleague.”

Bob Newell, IFB board member and chair of the search committee, added: “On behalf of the search committee, we are delighted to announce Dan as president and CEO starting in 2023. Throughout his career, Dan has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to creating opportunities for people who are blind to pursue their careers of choice. He is an exceptional professional and an inspiring individual.”

Kelly will succeed David Horton, who joined IFB in 2001 as the nonprofit’s controller and has served as its CEO since 2008. In September 2021, IFB Solutions announced Horton’s plans to retire at the end of 2022 and the formation of a search committee. IFB utilized the services of the search firm Buffkin/Baker who initiated a national search that generated more than 50 applications from a diverse group of candidates. The search committee interviewed six exceptional finalists who were national in scope and shared a clear passion for the mission of IFB Solutions.

“We are pleased that the top performing candidate in the selection process came from within the IFB organization,” said Brenda Diggs, IFB board chair and member of the search committee.

IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 as Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, and it provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

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Asheville’s IFB, Nation’s Largest Employer of Blind, Visually Impaired, Awarded $20K Grant

Woman holding up camo print material, wearing a mask.

IFB Solutions in Asheville, the country’s largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired, has received a $20,000 grant for job training.

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina recently awarded the company the grant through the foundation’s Human Services Grant Program. The funds will be used to support a paid training program for people with visual impairments, which includes training in sewing, orientation, mobility, the use of assistive technology and independent living skills.

Read more HERE


IFB Solutions Receives $20,000 Grant for Job Training in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — IFB Solutions, the country’s largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired, recently received a $20,000 grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina for job training in its Asheville facility. The grant, which came from the foundation’s Human Services Grant Program, is being used to support a paid training program for people with visual impairments, which includes training in sewing, orientation, mobility, the use of assistive technology, and independent living skills.


Read more HERE

Fundraiser selling Brailled ‘Happy Holidays’ cards aims to empower blind and vision-impaired Charlotte children

Haye sitting down in a chair and playing a guitar. Our IFB holiday fundraiser has the power to empower blind and vision-impaired children for the rest of their lives. We are selling brailled “Happy Holidays” cards to raise money for our S.E.E (Student Enrichment Experience) Program.

“You could just make a kid’s life,” teenager Hayes Hanvey of South Charlotte says of the card fundraiser.

Full story from FOX 46 here.



IFB Solutions Acquires Pinnacle Mercantile


IFB Solutions has acquired the assets of Pinnacle Mercantile, a reseller, and manufacturer of products for the home, kitchen, garden, and landscape.

The products are primarily made in the U.S. and sold and distributed through the Amazon marketplace.

Full story from Triad Business Journal here