AbilityOneThe AbilityOne Program
creates jobs and training opportunities for people who are blind or who have other severe disabilities, empowering them to lead more productive and independent lives. Its primary means of doing so is by requiring Government agencies to purchase selected products and services from nonprofit organizations employing such individuals.
The program currently employs over 40,000 people who are blind or have other servere disabilities.
In 1938, the Wagner-O'Day Act was passed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide employment opportunities for people who are blind by allowing them to sell products to the Federal Government.
In 1971, under the leadership of Senator Jacob Javits, Congress amended this Act (41 U.S.C. 46-48c
) to include people with severe disabilities and allow the Program to also provide services to the Federal Government. More than 60 years later, this extraordinary socioeconomic program provides Federal customers with a L $2 billion of quality products and services, while providing thousands of people with severe disabilities employment opportunities and increased independence.
The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled
is the Federal agency that administers the Program. Through two Central Nonprofit Agencies, NIB-National Industries for the Blind
and NISH-Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Severe Disabilities
, the Committee currently works with more than 600 nonprofit agencies across the country, as well as in Puerto Rico and Guam, to provide employment opportunities to people who are blind or have other severe disabilities. The purchase of AbilityOne products and services by Federal customers helps battle the chronic 70 percent unemployment or underemployment rate faced by this untapped labor resource.