Title

Feature article on the Maine Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Portl

Source

Casco Bay Weekly

Date

10-1-1998

Pages

10, 11, 13, 15

Abstract

Feature article on the Maine Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Portland, which is closing the doors of its factory, where 17 blind and mentally retarded people are employed. The Center, once called the Maine Institute for the Blind, served a more necessary purpose when blind people were harder to employ. Today more lucrative work in the for-profit sector has drawn away available workers, and computers and the Americans With Disabilities Act have eased the transition for others. Since 1993, only three blind people have applied for jobs at the center. The program had a thriving past as a textile-manufacturing plant, and workers have also made caned chairs, brooms, canvas tool bags, mattresses, wooden toys, and paper napkins. When the program closes in November, Gilbert Plourde's one-man caning department will be all that is left. With photographs and profiles of some of the remaining workers, and what their futures might hold when they leave the center.

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