An Overview of the AbilityOne Program

An Overview of the AbilityOne Program

The AbilityOne Program is the largest source of employment for people with blindness or severe disabilities. The federal initiative provides employment opportunities to more than 45,000 Americans across the U.S. using the purchasing power of the federal government. With help from participating nonprofit agencies that assist in the training and employment of workers with disabilities, the AbilityOne Program has empowered countless people to lead more productive and independent lives.


Brief History of the AbilityOne Program

Today, more than 500 nonprofit organizations employ individuals who are blind or have significant disabilities, as well as offer quality products and services to the government at a fair market price.

The program known as AbilityOne was first established in 1938 with the signing of the Wagner-O’ Day Act by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 25, 1938. The Committee on Purchases of Blind-Made Products was established by Congress and its first members were appointed by President Roosevelt. This Committee would later come to be known as the U.S. AbilityOne Commission.

How the AbilityOne Program Works

The AbilityOne Program is a type of procurement program that every federal agency in the U.S. must follow. It establishes the AbilityOne Procurement List which is a list of AbilityOne products and services that federal agencies are required to procure from authorized AbilityOne distributors

Before a business can distribute AbilityOne products, it must become an AbilityOne authorized provider. Authorization requires businesses to fulfill a number of conditions, including the following:

  • The business must have a sales system that can track and replace Essentially-the-Same (ETS) products to AbilityOne Products, as well as block ETS product sales.
  • The business needs to have a reliable source of AbilityOne products.

AbilityOne Program’s Mission & Vision

Since its inception, the Commission has designated SourceAmerica and the National Industries for the Blind as their central non-profit agencies facilitating the program. The current Commission is comprised of 15 Presidential appointees, four of which are private citizens that have extensive knowledge about the employment challenges that people with blindness and significant disabilities face. The remaining 11 represent federal agencies in the U.S.

The primary goal of the AbilityOne Program is to provide people who are blind or have serious disabilities with an array of employment opportunities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to federal customers. The team at AbilityOne is dedicated to helping these individuals achieve their maximum employment potential

How AbilityOne Benefits Taxpayers & the Federal Government

The AbilityOne Program has become the preferred source of supplies for federal employees. Taxpayers and the federal government greatly benefit from the program by receiving:

  • Quality products and services
  • Reasonable prices
  • On-time delivery
  • Reduced paperwork
  • Decreased reliance on disability programs
  • Central points of contact to solve issues

Interesting Facts About the AbilityOne Program

The AbilityOne Program operates nationwide with more than 500 non-profit agencies at more than 1,000 locations that represent 40 government agencies. Approximately 35,000 AbilityOne employees work with the Department of Defense (DoD) and supply more than $2.3 billion in high-quality products and services annually.

AbilityOne also provides military dining services to the DoD, performs custodial services and commissary shelf-stocking to the government, operates over 150 base supply centers, and delivers SKILCRAFT and other AbilityOne products. The program also offers services like call centers, contract management, secure document destruction, and fleet management.

The AbilityOne Program is an example of government at its best and has helped countless individuals who are blind or have serious disabilities, including more than 3,000 veterans, become valuable members of the workforce.


Shop AbilityOne Program with Competitive Choice, Inc.

Competitive Choice, Inc. (CCI) is an industry partner with AbilityOne and is proud to offer AbilityOne items to federal customers. Shop our extensive selection of AbilityOne products today.