Passed in 1938 and amended in 1971, the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) and the AbilityOne® Program, create employment and training opportunities for people who are blind or who have other severe disabilities. Federal purchasing of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services under the AbilityOne Program employs more than 47,000 Americans across the nation. Through this employment, people who are blind or have other severe disabilities are able to serve their country by providing necessary products and services to the federal government and the armed services.
The AbilityOne program is a preferred supply source for federal employees. The Program is administered by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission. Two national, independent organizations, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and SourceAmerica (formerly NISH) help state and private nonprofit agencies participate in the AbilityOne program.
The AbilityOne Program collaborates with federal customers to satisfy their needs with quality products and services at fair market prices and leverages a national network of nonprofit agencies to further develop and expand the wide array of solutions it provides. Benefits of the AbilityOne program to the federal government and to taxpayers include:
- High quality supplies and services
- On-time delivery
- Reasonable prices
- Reduction of paperwork and pre/post award costs
- Central points of contact to solve problems/facilitate action
- Reduced disability payments and increased tax revenues
To many, the AbilityOne program is an example of government at its best. While the purpose of the Program is first and foremost to provide employment and training for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities, it does not represent a handout. Non-profit agencies that employ people who are blind or have other severe disabilities must demonstrate that they can offer the government quality supplies and services at reasonable prices while maintaining a ratio of 75 percent of direct labor employees who are blind or have other severe disabilities.