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The AbilityOne Program

AbilityOne helps thousands of people who are blind or have other severe disabilities find employment.  The program coordinates its activities with non-profit organizations across the country to employ these individuals and provide good and services to the Federal Government at a fair price.  The AbilityOne Program: 

  • Employs more than 40,000 people who are blind or have other severe disabilities

  • Is the largest source employment for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities in the country

  • Coordinates participation from more than 600 non-profit agencies throughout the United States

  • Represents $2.3 billion of products and services purchased by the Federal Government in 2006

  • Operates at nearly 1,000 locations representing 40 government agencies nationally

  • Provides a majority of the Military Chemical Protective Coats and Trousers, known as the JSLIST overgarment

  • Is the largest provider of custodial services and commissary shelf-stocking to the Federal Government

  • Is one of the major providers of military dining services to the Department of Defense

  • Supports humanitarian relief programs in more than 30 countries

  • Surveyed the workforce in 2006 and found the 76% of people with severe disabilities were satisfied with their jobs and 79% were very proud of their work.

The AbilityOne Program is administered by the Committee for Purchase From People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, an independent federal agency, with assistance from SourceAmerica(NISH)  and National Industries for the Blind


1.  The NISH (SourceAmerica) Alliance Team was established in 2002.
2.  Goals of the Alliance

  • Consistency and continuous improvement in performance of AbilityOne contracts through development and implementation of quality programs

  • Utilization of feedback and performance measurement systems to improve delivery systems, achieve planned outcomes and ensure a better understanding of NAVFAC/NISH(SourceAmerica) client concerns

  • Open and frequent communication to foster greater understanding and collaboration

  • Responsiveness to changing needs by listening to clients and remaining flexible

  • Use of industry benchmarking and business and technology trends in AbilityOne contracts to reduce infrastructure costs

  • Use of contract specific partnering with stakeholders throughout the planning, implementation and execution of AbilityOne contracts

  • Integrated education and training of NAVFAC/NISH(SourceAmerica) clients

  • Best value solutions designed to provide choices for new and existing products and services

3.  Current status of Alliance

  • Working groups and Subcommittee's have been working on many issues and working tools since 2002

  • Alliance members teleconference quarterly and meet annually

  • Signature of Alliance pending at NISH(SourceAmerica) HQ

4.  NAVFAC-NISH(SourceAmerica) Alliance Tools

  • Reviewed and commented on the Committee's Pricing Guide prior to issuance

  • Developed NAVFAC NISH(SourceAmerica) Handbook for Contracting Officers

  • Problem resolution at the lowest levels

  • NAVFAC Small Business Professionals attend NISH(SourceAmerica) Regional meetings

  • Better communication allowed NAVFAC to frequently include NISH(SourceAmerica) representatives in outreach and Command events

  • Allows finer insight of opportunities available


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