Beyond Vision

Beyond Vision Awarded $5 Million in State of Wisconsin Budget

July 8, 2021 – MILWAUKEE, WI—Beyond Vision has been awarded $5 Million dollars within the state of Wisconsin 2021-2023 Biennial Capital Budget.

This allocation was included in the Governor’s original Capital Budget recommendations within the non-state agency request section.  Our request was vetted by the Department of Administration Budget Office, the State of Wisconsin Building Commission and approved by the Joint Committee on Finance and the Wisconsin legislature before the Governor signed it into law on July 8, 2021.

The $5 million will significantly contribute to the creation of the Beyond Vision VisABILITY Center, a collaboration and  co-location model serving people who are blind and their families throughout Wisconsin.  The VisABILITY Center, when fully operational, will be the only facility of its kind in Wisconsin providing access to jobs, combined with collaboration on training, advocacy and more, to people who are blind and their families.

Beyond Vision is one of just two Wisconsin organizations with the sole mission of providing meaningful and sustainable employment for people who are blind.

In 2019, Beyond Vision purchased the former Sam’s Club located at 1540 South 108th Street in West Allis, WI.  This 130,000 square foot facility is currently being renovated and repurposed to house the VisABILITY Center.   (Beyond Vision has contracted with Bray Architects and Moore Construction.  We have also enlisted the services of nationally recognized Architect Chris Downey.  Chris is blind and has been instrumental in raising the awareness and benefits of Universal Design, internationally.)

“The VisABILITY Center will serve as a national model for other organizations interested in providing employment as well as collaboration to offer other support services for the blind community.  There is a 70% non-employment rate for working age adults who are legally blind.   Currently, Beyond Vision operates from two circa 1930s buildings on Milwaukee’s west side.  We are choked for space and the expansion of our facilities will enable us to ultimately double or triple our workforce,” said Jim Kerlin, President and CEO.

Beyond Vision provides comprehensive training and employment in four business units:  assembly and packaging, CNC machining, a full-service call center and blind-made product distribution to the government and commercial businesses.  While Beyond Vision provides sustainable and secure employment opportunities, its mission fulfillment includes preparing people who are blind for successful careers within the marketplace.

“Beyond Vision can serve as a runway for those employees who earn and learn but choose to move onto careers within the sighted community.  We are eager to help our employees along their chosen career paths and arm them with the skills to transition to other levels of employment,” said Jeff Peil, Chair of the Beyond Vision Volunteer Board of Directors.  (Mr. Peil is also blind).

Fund raising for the $18 million project is ongoing, with the organization having secured nearly 60% and identified nearly 70% of the goal.

 

To learn more about the VisABILITY Center and Beyond Vision please visit our Capital Campaign page or contact Nick Czaplewski, nczaplewski@beyondvision.com or call 414-778-5800.

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