BISM Logo, blue compass

Blind Industries & Services of Maryland

BISM Logo, blue compass

BISM

We Are BISM!

Blind Industries & Services of Maryland is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing career and training resources to blind residents of Maryland.

BISM Blind Industries & Services of Maryland Overview cover
student reading braille - black and white photo
Mission/Vision statement

To provide stable career opportunities, innovative rehabilitation programs, quality products and services and to develop resources for training and education.

BISM's original Baltimore location photo
ABOUT BISM - short history of BISM

Established in 1908 by the Maryland General Assembly, Blind Industries & Services of Maryland (BISM) is a 503(c)(3) not-for-profit company that provides evolving employment and training opportunities for blind and visually impaired people of all ages. BISM works tirelessly to change the staggering statistic that 70% of the blind population is unemployed. BISM Associates manufacture quality products, provide quality customer service, and offer a variety of programs and services.

current BISM headquarters
BISM facts list

Over 600 people (majority of whom are blind or low vision) are employed by BISM; All programs and services at BISM are free for Maryland Residents; BISM has 16 locations in 5 states, and Washington, D.C.; ShopBISM.com offers all of our products, plus many more

Short BISM Timeline

1908 - Baltimore Division; 1957 - Cumberland Division; 1969 - Salisbury Sewing Division; 1976 - Rehabilitation Services; 1997 - Base Supply Center Division; 1999 - Salisbury Cutting Division; 2002 - E-Commmerce (ShopBISM) Division; 2014 - Raleigh Division; 2016 - Federalsbury Division; 2018 - Hagerstown Division

BISM associate Carolyn sews U.S. military uniforms at our Salisbury location
Rehabilitation - Unlock Your Future
Training & Services description

BISM's Rehabilitation department continues to grow each year as we reach more blind Marylanders through our innovative youth, adult, and senior programs. BISM provides students with the knowledge and skills that they need to live independent lives. Rehabilitation programs occur at our locations in Baltimore, Cumberland, Hagerstown, Salisbury and in student's homes throughout the State of Maryland.

Steps to Independence description

BISM's internationally recognized Rehabilitation programs for youth, adults, and seniors all feature non-visual classroom training in four crucial areas: Braille(Reading & Writing); Adaptive Technology (Computers); Independent Living (Home Management); and Cane Travel (Mobility).

Instructor and student walking down sidewalk practicing cane travel

Caption: Being able to navigate the world independently is an important skill instructors instill in all of their students.

Youth program group photo on the Brooklyn Bridge
Youth Services description

In addition to the many skills blind and low vision youth students learn, BISM has a number of programs that provide students with employment experience, confidence building activities, improved social skills, and mentoring. Programs include: GLIDE - Gaining Leadership, Independence, Direction, and Experience; Independence 101 - Residential program for middle school students; Work to Independence - Residential program for high school students

Adult Services description

BISM's Comprehensive Orientation, Rehabilitation and Empowerment (CORE) residential program teaches blind and low vision adults the skills of blindness so they can become employed, pursue post secondary education, and regain control of their lives. CORE students also participate in: Job Readiness, College Prep, Woodshop, Fitness, and Confidence Building Activities.

CORE students on a white-water rafting trip
Senior student potting a plant
Senior services description

The Senior program curriculum includes similar classes to CORE, plus gardening and leisure activities, peer support, confidence-building outings and community integration. Students work toward their own personal goals for independence with training tailored to each person's real-life situation. Some of the key Senior programs are: SILVER - Senior Independent Living, Vision, Education, & Rehabilitation; SAIL - Seniors Achieving Independent Living; Support Group.

State Services
Why Buy From BISM? description

With every quality product the state purchases from BISM, you positively impact the lives of blind and visually impaired Maryland citizens. Your support allows BISM to employ blind and visually impaired adults in all aspects of our organization, plus provide training opportunities free of charge for blind Marylanders of all ages.

Manufacturing description

BISM is a diverse manufacturing company that produces over 700 products, including paper towels and toilet paper, janitorial supplies, paper pads and lock-sets. BISM is a preferred provider of the State of Maryland and manufactures a full line of green products to the State of Maryland agencies.

Kenny fills detergent for the Department of Corrections
Federal Services
Supporting Our Military description

BISM is a proud member of the AbilityOne Program, manufacturing clothing, accessories and office supplies for the Federal Government and the United States Military. Under this program, we also own and operate Base Supply Centers on military installations in MD, VA, DC, DE and KY. We offer a full range of AbilityOne and Commercial products to all of our customers through our e-commerce website, ShopBISM.com.

embroidery machine finishing the US Army logo on a jacket
Cutting & Sewing description

Blind Industries & Services of Maryland is a leading provider of military uniforms, such as the Army's physical fitness uniform and other jackets and accessories used by the Air Force and Navy. Through our CAD/CAM cutting operations and sewing divisions, we are able to produce thousands of quality products that exceed the expectations of customers, such as the Department of Defense and Federal Prison Industries.

Base Supply Center description

The BSCs employ blind and disabled associates and sell a wide range of SKILCRAFT (made by blind and disabled Americans) and commercial office supplies. In addition to office supplies, our BSCs also offer cleaning supplies, furniture, tools, indsutrial equipment, uniforms, and a wide range of other products to on-base personnel, military, federal/government employees and government contractors.

Dover AFB BSC Manager Kim helps a customer
BSC truck with advertisement for the BSCs and ShopBISM.com on the side parked outside a store
ShopBISM Ecommerce Store description

Our e-commerce website, ShopBISM.com, is a one-stop shopping solution for office and cleaning supplies that offers over 80,000 brand name, competitively priced items. ShopBISM.com also offers a price match guarantee, next day free shipping on qualified purchases, and dedicated customer service. Every purchase made on ShopBISM.com creates jobs for blind Americans.

Commercial Services
BISM Brands description

While BISM does the majority of its business with Federal and State customers, we continue to develop business opportunities for the Commercial marketplace. At the center of our commercial business is custom label bottled water, and we have recently acquired a manufacturing location that produces paper products, including toilet paper and paper towels, under our Monarch brand.

Bottle filling line - caption: On average, 25,000 bottles of water are produced at the BISM Beverage Plant in Federalsburg each month.
BISM Beverage description

BISM Beverage is a full service custom label bottled water division serving commercial customers across the region. BISM Beverage creates the artwork for the labels, fills the bottles at our Federalsburg, MD facility, and ships the water directly to your business. BISM Beverage bottles come in a variety of sizes: 8 oz flat cap, 10 oz. flat cap, 16.9 oz. flat cap, 16.9 oz Elite Bullet Bottle flat cap, 20 oz. flat cap, and 20 oz sport cap.

BISM Monarch description

BISM's Monarch division is a state of the art manufacturing facility that offers commercial customers and the State of Maryland a full line of quality paper products. Located in Hagerstown, MD, BISM is proud to produce 1 and 2-ply Bath Tissue, 2-ply Paper Towels, 1-ply Napkins, and 2-ply Facial Tissues. Our manufacturing operation offers traditional paper as well as eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to tree products.

Paper towel machine line - caption: Monarch paper towels being produced at our Hagerstown facility
Group photo of the Rehab Senior SILVER Retreat
Contact information page

If you are interested in BISM employment opportunities, in everything from manufacturing to customer service to management, please contact us at 888-322-4567 or www.bism.org. If you or a loved one is losing their vision and wants to regain their independence, contact us at 888-322-4567 or www.bism.org to learn more about our training programs and services.

Back Cover - Positively changing people's attitudes about blindness!

Take a tour of our facility today! Blind Industries & Services of Maryland, 3345 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21227; Toll Free: 1-888-322-4567; www.bism.org

Click the arrow to page through

We positively change people's attitudes about blindness.

1908

Maryland Workshop for the Blind established by the Maryland General Assembly. Located in Baltimore, its purpose is to provide vocational rehabilitation, continuous employment, and other resources to blind adults of Maryland.

1957

The Cumberland division is established, providing services for blind residents of Western Maryland.

1969

The Salisbury division is established, providing services for blind residents of the Eastern Shore.

1973

Maryland Workshop for the Blind is renamed Blind Industries & Services of Maryland (BISM).

1976

The Rehabilitation Training Division is established. Originally a small department focused on vocational training, the division grew quickly to provide skills training to blind people of all ages across the state.

1997

BISM creates its Base Supply Center (BSC) division, opening the first BSC store on Dover Air Force Base with five associates.

1999

BISM purchases a second location in Salisbury for its cutting and embroidery operations. BISM wins its first contract to produce uniforms for the military, significantly boosting the Cumberland and Salisbury divisions' production.

2002

BISM expands its BSC division into e-commerce with the creation of SuperEagleSupply.com.

2005

Having outgrown its original headquarters, the Baltimore headquarters moves into its present location on 3345 Washington Boulevard. The new facility houses administration, rehabilitation services, and cutting.

2014

BISM creates the Raleigh Division of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, following a previous partnership with the Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind.

2015

SuperEagleSupply.com is rebranded as ShopBISM.com.

2016

BISM Beverage expands and purchases a new building in Federalsburg. This purchase allows for the production of multiple sizes of water bottles.

Mission

To provide stable career opportunities, innovative rehabilitation programs, quality products and services and to develop resources for training and education.

Vision

Our organization is an internationally recognized leader whose associates provide evolving opportunities for
blind people and others.

Meet the Board of Trustees

The mission of the Board of Trustees is to provide BISM associates with strong leadership that ensures the current and future success of our organization.

BISM Board of Trustees group photo

Board of Trustees Members:

(Front row, from left) Martha E. Seabrooks; Norman H. Conway, Vice Treasurer; George H. Littrell; Donald J. Morris, Chairman Emeritus; Sarah H. Goldstein. (Back row, from left) Melba J. Taylor; Dr. Walter A. Brown, Vice-Chairperson; James R. Berens, Treasurer; Frederick J. Puente, BISM President; Dr. William E. Hadlock, Secretary; Dr. Peter L. Gehlbach; Dr. Michael L. Gosse, Chairperson.

Message From the President And the Chairman of the Board

"We Are Positive. We Expect the Best and We Get It."

We feel very fortunate to be able to work at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) and participate in all the progress and success we have been able to achieve as an organization. It is not through any one individual, but rather through the hard work and dedication of all of our Associates.

BISM has worked very hard to stay competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. Through excellent communication and customer service, we have been able to meet or exceed the requirements that our customers both desire and deserve. Every one of our Associates, from the newest hire to the most senior manager, accepts responsibility for the quality of products and services we deliver.

Our nationally-recognized Rehabilitation and Training division offers innovative life skills training programs, services and workshops for blind and visually impaired people of all ages. Our training programs focus on independence and confidence. Students graduate from our programs with the ability to succeed in all aspects of their lives.

Our company logo is a compass and there is no object that better portrays BISM and its mission. The associates are the points of the compass, and it is they who lead us in the right direction for the future.

Frederick J Puente and Dr. Michael Gosse

Frederick J. Puente & Dr. Michael Gosse
President & Chairman of the Board

Financial Information