The Louisiana Association for the Blind (LAB) announced it has supplied the more than 10,000 square feet of SKILCRAFT (R)/3M Safety Walk (TM) Slip Resistant Material for the USS New York (LPD 21), an amphibious transport dock ship built and delivered by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – Gulf Coast's Avondale shipyard. Through the Ability One Program, LAB is able to provide quality employment to the visually impaired and currently employs 125 people, 42 of those who are blind. LAB's Safety Walk (TM) Department, which consists of six blind and three sighted employees, has played a significant role in manufacturing and supplying the Safety Walk (TM) material for the ship.
While working on the LPD 21 project, LAB's Safety Walk (TM) division performed various operations that include the AutoCAD (TM) designing aspect, cutting the peel and stick material and packaging of the product.
There are a total of 65 compartments on the ship where the Safety Walk (TM) material will be placed to date and LAB will work on additional compartments in the weeks leading up to the commissioning date. LAB employees converted bulk Safety-Walk material into 1,440 made-to-order pieces, ranging in size from slightly more than three square feet to over 500 square feet. These custom pieces were then applied to surfaces throughout the ship to help improve traction.
Shelly Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Louisiana Association for the Blind said, "LAB is an authorized distributor and converter of 3M Traction Systems for the Federal government and offers a variety of anti-slip and safety matting materials in rolls, cut sizes and custom kits. Nine LAB employees were involved with this project and performed operations that included design, cutting the material and packaging the product."
The USS New York (LPD 21), named in honor of victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, has seven and a half tons of steel recovered from the twin towers welded into her bow. This is the sixth ship of the U.S. Navy to be named after the state of New York. USS New York, is designed to deliver a troop of 700 Marines.
During the construction process of the ship 24 tons of steel were used and came from the rubble from the World Trade Center. This steel was melted down at Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, Louisiana to cast the ship's bow section. It was poured into the molds on September 9, 2003. LPD 21 was built and delivered by Avondale, which is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the greater New Orleans area. Avondale has direct access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River and is easily accessed by the nation's interstate highway system and by rail.
USS New York's commissioning ceremony is scheduled to occur on November 7, 2009 in New York City. Commissioning is the ceremony in which New York will become a unit of the operating forces of the United States Navy. It is the occasion when the ship will "Come Alive" and officially becomes USS New York.