GREENSBORO, N.C. — Industries of the Blind’s latest extension offers job opportunities to people who are blind or visually impaired. 

What You Need To Know

  • At least 70% of people who are blind or visually impaired in the U.S. are unemployed

  • 33 & Elm Coffee House was created by Industries of the Blind to provide food options for employees located close to the company

  • Cassie Avery, who is blind, searched for work for months in Florida but ultimately moved to Greensboro for a job with 33 & Elm

Cassie Avery spent most of her life living in Florida. When she began her job search, she had a lot of difficulty finding work.

Avery is blind, and she believes disclosing this to some employers is what stopped her from getting hired. While Avery is able to work, she needs some accommodations to help her do her job.

“Accommodations can be time consuming, or expensive, or maybe employers are scared because they don’t know that we can do our job the same as everybody else,” Avery said. 

After looking for work in Florida, Avery widened her search. A Google search led her to find Industries of the Blind in Greensboro.

She anticipated some work in manufacturing or sewing, but instead, leaders told her about a new coffee shop that would be opening. It would serve as a food option for employees who typically relied on third-party delivery services. 

“Moving seemed like the right choice to make. I’m really good at technology, so I applied. I got it and here we are,” Avery said.  

Avery was hired as a cashier for 33 & Elm Coffee House, where she uses accommodations, like the VoiceOver feature on an iPad, to take orders for customers.

Other staff members are visually impaired as well. The coffee shop first opened its doors only for Industries of the Blind employees. The shop started serving the public in August 2021. 

“I’m a people person so I like the opportunity. People come down and I can banter and have a good time and get paid for it,” Avery said. 

Avery believes she’s found her perfect fit in her job as a cashier.

She enjoys interacting with people and brightening their day with something as simple as a cup of coffee. She knows that the skills she’s obtaining at work can be brought anywhere, which has inspired her to think about her career. 

“As anyone does, I’m sure, I love making money… but it’s good because not a lot of people can say they love their jobs. I actually enjoy what I do and it’s something that I could maybe see making a career out of,” Avery said. 

For more information on 33 & Elm Coffee House, click here