Group offering jobs to blind to expand into Summerville

A Seattle-based nonprofit that provides manufacturing jobs for the blind is expanding into Dorchester County.

The Lighthouse for the Blind Inc. will invest $2 million and create 20 positions at a plant it is opening in Summerville, according to the state Commerce Department.

The agency said that the group has purchased a 24,000-square-foot building at 230 Deming Way in Eastport Industrial Park that will specialize in product assembly and light machining for the aerospace industry. The plant is expected to be fully operational in fall 2016.

The state Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved tax credits the group can claim based on the number of jobs it creates.

Hiring already is underway. The group is directing applicants to www.thelighthousefortheblindinc.org.

Founded in 1918, Lighthouse for the Blind has 13 locations, all on the West Coast. It said its mission is to create and enhance “opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency” for people who are blind or blind with other disabilities.

“I am extremely excited that individuals in the area will benefit by obtaining meaningful jobs, learning new skills, preparing for potential upward mobility, and producing quality products,: said Bennett Prows, chairman of the nonprofit’s board of trustees. “This move enhances full employment opportunities for people who are blind in South Carolina and across the country.”

The group’s website shows that it does business with Boeing Co. as well as the Department of Defense, Triumph Composite Systems Inc. and BAE Systems.