Alphapointe Association for the Blind: Creating a New Working Class, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

For many years, blind and visually impaired individuals have been ostracized from the working class. Although many avenues discriminate, the manufacturing industry has been especially partial towards the blind because the line of work involves good hand-eye coordination. While most businesses are counting the visually impaired out, Alphapointe Association for the Blind is constantly employing and training blind persons to work with modern technology. Through its services, Alphapointe employs and empowers the blind to become completely independent individuals.

The Association began in 1911 when Catherine Hale became frustrated with the status of the blind. As she searched for avenues that catered to her brother’s visual handicap, Hale found that few opportunities were available to blind persons who wanted to work. While organizations were willing to give the necessities to disabled individuals, establishments were not willing to hire the visually impaired for production and growth. Since blind persons are capable of doing more than accepting a handout, the helpless perspective irritated Hale. Catherine created Alphapointe to accommodate individuals like her brother who were capable and willing to labor for their wages.

Although Hale aspired to give the visually impaired an alternative to the helpless nature of always being recipients of handouts, the company has developed into more than an employer of blind individuals. Alphapointe is one of the federal government’s largest suppliers of office supplies, and a major distributor to Office Max and Office Depot. The company has recently partnered with 3M and Kensington to expand its production to transparent tape and security locks for laptops. The business already manufactured and distributed fifteen types of pens before obtaining its newest contracts. Although ten decades old, Alphapointe is constantly searching for and implementing new ways to instill self-worth in blind persons. While the federal government is the central recipient, Alphapointe products are also available to the general public for purchase.

Among numerous significant elements associated with the company is its infrastructure. As a 501(c)(3) business, Alphapointe operates as a non-profit organization. This essentially means that the company can accept donations that render tax incentives to the giver. The company is also a large industrial corporation that distributes goods to retail stores and other businesses. Such goods are sometimes sold to consumers who inevitably support the Association with every purchase. Alphapointe essentially offers all spectrums the opportunity to benefit from its services. While the blind directly benefit from employment, individuals and other corporations gain from the selling and purchasing of products offered. Alphapointe has in a sense created a circle that everyone, regardless of ability or status, can glean from. Such infrastructure gives the company stability that is unmatched when compared with other industrial companies.

Contrary to the average factory, Alphapointe will not risk closure due to low productivity. Not only has the company partnered with the largest business spectrums, but the Association has also established itself as a trusted helper of the disabled. J&W Associates recognized Alphapointe in June 2009 for its empowerment efforts. As J&W explains,

“Alphapointe’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services(CRS) and Education Program enhances independence, productivity and quality of life for Missouri’s adults, youth and seniors who have recently lost their vision, been blind since birth or whose sight is endangered, regardless of their ability to pay” (Watson 3).

Over 80,000 visually impaired individuals have improved their quality of life after utilizing Alphapointe’s rehabilitation services. To date, the company has employed and educated over 4,000 disabled persons. The Association has also created 38 jobs that have positive fiscal impacts on the community. Although primarily recognized for its efforts with disabled persons, J&W Associates also honored Alphapointe for its ability to create economic growth in turbulent financial times.

Aside from J&W, KCIC News has also recognized Alphapointe for its commitment to community. The Association was bestowed a 2011 “Brick-By-Brick” award for its continued investment in Kansas City, Missouri. Such recognition is an accomplishment for a local business that primarily specializes in rehabilitation. Although the company distributes its products throughout the country, it does not neglect its hometown in pursuit of national acclamation. Alphapointe began as a localized business and remains such despite its expansion into various business spectrums.

While its distribution is nationwide, Alphapointe maintains its community influence through employment and operation of Connecting Pointe retail store. Although all visually impaired persons are welcome to apply for employment at Alphapointe, the Association gives special preference to Kansas City residents. Such preference allows for award-winning economic growth and financial stability. The corporation also maintains Connecting Pointe retail store for small businesses and individuals. Designed to be the premiere office supply store of the city, Connecting Pointe carries the latest equipment and gadgets for residents to enjoy. Contrary to some businesses that force all individuals to order from a catalog regardless of location, residents of the city can drive to the Association’s retail store for immediate needs. Such accessibility adds the element of convenience to the company’s overall infrastructure, and defines the Association’s role in within the community.

In the future, Alphapointe plans to be a primary education institution for the blind. Although it teaches visually disabled persons to become independent beings through labor, Alphapointe aspires to be an institution that extends beyond employment. As the company’s president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Reinhard Mabry states,

“Imagine a place that can teach you how to use a computer that talks. A place where experts can teach you to use public transportation safely, how to make a gourmet meal for your family and friends, or offer technology to allow you to read a textbook or homework assignments” (http://www.alphapointe.org/Message%20from%20the%20CEO).

While some may classify Mabry’s ambitions for the company as wishful thinking, Alphapointe may be the first organization to educate and cultivate every avenue of the visually impaired. From laboring to daily interactions, the Association has plans to make a difference in the way that the blind are viewed by the public. In contrast to some mottos, Alphapointe believes that such perception can only be improved when visually impaired persons begin to see themselves in a more positive life. The Association has established its practices and goals on empowerment and continues to make a positive mark on the nation.

J&W Associates only honors those businesses that “successfully demonstrate supply reliability, cost effectiveness of goods and services, and exhibit good financial fitness” (Watson 3). As a leader in the industrial force, Alphapointe has successfully exhibited all of these attributes. Since its inception, the company has managed to survive several economic crises while maintaining its communal connection. While other corporations are outsourcing jobs to other nations, Alphapointe is actively pursuing candidates within the community who are capable and willing to work for wages. Catherine Hale created the Association after exhausting all avenues for the blind. Today the Alphapointe Association for the Blind has become the primary supplier of office supplies and number one employer of visually impaired persons in Kansas City, Missouri.

Works Cited

Alphapointe Association for the Blind. About Us. 2011 http://www.alphapointe.org/About%20Us

Alphapointe Association for the Blind. History. 2011. http://www.alphapointe.org/History

Alphapointe Association for the Blind. Message from the CEO. 2011  http://www.alphapointe.org/Message%20from%20the%20CEO

Alphapointe Association for the Blind. Office Products. 2011. http://www.alphapointe.org/Office%20Products

Kansas City Industrial Council. Brick-By-Brick Save the Date. Retrieved on 11/28/2011. http://www.kciconline.com/NewsEvents/News.html

Watson, Janet W (CEO). E-Spectrums News Source (2009). J&W Associates. Volume 2, Issue 4. Print.

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