Blind People Prove They Are Essential at Alphapointe


Alphapointe, in Richmond Hill has been deemed an “essential business” by the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. Not surprising, since Alphapointe manufactures and produces military uniforms, life-saving tourniquets, litter beds and janitorial and cleaning supplies used by federal, state and city government agencies to assist in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alphapointe also provides warehouse and distribution operations for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). What might surprise you, is that most of the people performing this critical work are blind or visually impaired. As part of the national AbilityOne program and the New York State Preferred Source Program, Alphapointe empowers people who are blind through employment, job placement and rehabilitation services.

With 200 employees in Queens, 130 of them legally blind, the “essential” designation meant operations needed to continue despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19.

“I’m extremely proud of our employees who have persevered through this crisis,” said president and CEO Reinhard Mabry. “Employees take great pride in the work they do for our communities, our city and federal government. They are supplying products used daily to help us fight this terrible virus.”

Assistant shipping supervisor Brittany Long is one of those talented employees with vision loss. Throughout the crisis, she faces a two-hour commute with multiple transfers. Prior to the emergency, her commute was 45 minutes.

It is her responsibility to ensure essential products reach their intended destinations. She also supports ACS warehousing that’s providing clothing, shoes, and blankets to families in need during this difficult time. Brittany has maintained exceptional attendance despite the hardships of her commute.

Cornell Williams joined Alphapointe in 2008 as an electrician in maintenance. He has never let blindness define him. Williams also provides sign language for our deaf employees when needed. He is always the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. He’s an active volunteer chaplain with the NYPD, FDNY, and American Red Cross.

“With a 70 percent unemployment rate of people who are blind when times are good, we know those with vision loss will need jobs and technical skills when this crisis ends,” said Mabry. “To meet that need, Alphapointe is creating a technology training center and creating more jobs.”

Alphapointe is currently seeking funding support for renovations and equipment to add production capacity on upper floors of its building. To donate or learn more about Alphapointe, visit their website.

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