What is the AbilityOne Program?
The AbilityOne Program is a federal program that employs individuals with severe disabilities. This program creates and sells fair market products to Government agencies. It does this through participating independent nonprofit organizations. AbilityOne began as the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act, a federal law passed in 1971. This law requires all Federal agencies to purchase specified supplies and services from organizations employing persons who are blind or have other significant disabilities.
AbilityOne plays an important role in federal procurement. It accounts for more than $4 billion per year in sales. And it enlists 500 nonprofit agencies across the country. The program operates at more than 1,000 locations, representing 40 government agencies, in all 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Through the program, federal customers can receive quality products and services for fair prices through the nationwide network of nonprofits. This benefits the government and the taxpayers by providing them with high-quality goods and services.
What is the AbilityOne Commission? Oversight
The program is overseen by the AbilityOne Commission. This is an independent federal agency made up of 15 presidentially appointed members. The Commission mediates between federal agencies and authorized distributors to ensure program compliance.
The AbilityOne Commission oversees a procurement list to determine which products and services can be obtained by federal government buyers through the AbilityOne program. The AbilityOne Commission is also responsible for setting a fair market price.
AbilityOne Provides Meaningful Employment
The most important part of the AbilityOne program is that it creates opportunities. It provides employment and training opportunities for approximately 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities.
Through the program, people with severe disabilities can receive training and employment while providing products and services for the federal government. This is because nonprofit agencies must use a ratio of 75% direct labor employees who have significant disabilities.
This is disability advocacy at its best. These jobs are set aside for people that might otherwise be discriminated against or never given an opportunity.
Bona Fide Conglomerate and the AbilityOne program
Bona Fide is proud to be a nonprofit agency in the AbilityOne program. We are dedicated to contributing to the training and employment of people with severe disabilities. Bona Fide provides various maintenance services for federal buildings. And over 75% of the labor is done by employees with significant disabilities.
Thanks to the AbilityOne program, we at Bona Fide are privileged to play a part in such a meaningful advocacy program. “It is very rewarding to be able to help someone with a disability learn, grow and become financially stable.” – Linda Trembley, Project Manager for Bona Fide in Tampa, Florida.
“Their job is a source of pride for them, knowing they are working just like anyone else – that makes them feel empowered.” -Tina Tyko, Project Manger, Santa Rosa.
Providing employment for people with disabilities is a positive example of the government working for the people. Federal agencies that participate in the program support disability advocacy and equal opportunity. And it can be a lifesaver for people living with severe disabilities.