image description

Blind Industries Closing it’s Cumberland Textile and Sewing Plant

October 5th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) today announced that it will be closing its textile sewing and manufacturing plant located in Cumberland, Maryland, effective October 29, 2021.  "The decision to close the Cumberland plant came after a careful and strategic review of the crippling reduction of textile contracts available from BISM's federal government customers" said Frederick J. Puente, President of BISM. "This decision was not easily made, and in no way reflects the performance of our leadership and employees in Cumberland or BISM's dedication to its mission." Puente also cited, as factors for the plant closing, changes in workforce and demographics in the Cumberland area and persistent decrease in the number of blind workers available for employment in the area.


The decision to close the plant will affect approximately 46 salaried and hourly employees. Support will be provided to employees in terms of transition and employee assistance. Employees from Cumberland will be also be given opportunities and assistance in applying for employment positions within BISM's other textile manufacturing locations. BISM also has made plans to extend certain benefits and will pay severance payments to its employees based upon work history and years of service to the organization.


BISM continues to take under consideration the possibility of continuing its Independence and Rehabilitation Training programs serving the blind communities of Western Maryland, including Cumberland and Hagerstown, Maryland. These programs have, most recently, been suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. BISM expects to make further announcements in the coming weeks.

Puente added "These are unprecedented times and, as a company, we have had to adapt as best we can. Despite these challenges, BISM remains committed to our mission of providing employment opportunities and training programs and services for blind and low vision people. Closing the Cumberland plant is extremely difficult for us, our Associates and the local community. It truly breaks my heart”