FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2008
Contact: OMB Communications, 202-395-7254
PRESIDENT BUSH CALLS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO UTILIZE SERVICES
AND PURCHASE GOODS PROVIDED THROUGH ABILITYONE PROGRAM
Washington, DC — As part of his New Freedom Initiative, the President signed a memorandum today encouraging Federal agencies to utilize services and purchase goods through a program that employs those who are blind or severely disabled.
The AbilityOne Program (formerly the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program) is a Federal acquisition initiative that brings public and private organizations together to generate employment and training opportunities for Americans who are blind or have other severe disabilities.
The memorandum encourages heads of all executive departments and Federal agencies to ensure that their procurement executives, purchase card holders, and other acquisition professionals acquire products and services provided by the AbilityOne Program consistent with existing law.
AbilityOne reflects the goals of the Administration’s New Freedom Initiative by integrating Americans with disabilities into the workforce. The AbilityOne Program employs nearly 43,000 individuals in more than 600 community-based nonprofit agencies providing the Federal Government with quality products and services.
The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) works with federal agencies, including the Committee for Purchase From People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, to ensure that policies and regulations addressing purchases under the AbilityOne Program are clear and effective. The program has taken steps to embrace successful business practices, including e-commerce and performance-based contracting. Strong support from Federal customers is critical to fulfilling this important program’s employment mission.
“People who are blind or have other severe disabilities working under the AbilityOne Program are joining the rest of our country’s labor force and pursuing their American Dream. As expressed in the President’s New Freedom Initiative, Americans with disabilities must be afforded the opportunity to use more of their own gifts, make more of their own choices and lead lives of greater independence,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle.
"It is an honor to be associated with the Ability One program. Helping persons who are blind and severely disabled be employed by providing needed quality products and services to the federal government is the procurement community’s way of supporting the President's New Freedom Initiative," said Paul Denett, OFFP Administrator.Memorandum is available at: /news/releases/2008/02/20080211.html.