DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A partnership between Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley and the Dayton Sewing Collaborative means new opportunity for people with disabilities.

Now they can join others to learn skills that will help them get employed by local manufacturers.

Last month, the Dayton Sewing Collaborative moved to their new spot at Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley (GESMV).

On Thursday, the two groups announced a contract with the Department of Defense to sew laundry bags for the military.

“At least 75 percent of the people working on this job will have a disability, and it’s going to take about 8-12 people to perform the work on this laundry bag,” said David Burrows, the Vice President of Business Services for the GESMV.

Those participants will learn the skills needed through the the Sewing Collaborative’s Dayton Train to Sew classes, free of charge.

“They train folks over a three-week period how to sew, how to run different types of machines, how to thread machines, how to load bobbins,” said Burrows. “Our laundry bag operation will actually be employing some of those people.”

But they said even if the participants don’t work on the laundry bags, the sewing skills they learn are the foundation for any number of opportunities.

“There are about 600 industrial sewing jobs in the Dayton area,” said Brenda Rex, the director of the Dayton Sewing Collaboration. “We worked with all the local manufacturers to identify specifically what skills the employees needed to have, and developed our curriculum based on that.”

The laundry bag operation will begin in March.