History of the AbilityOne Program
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 $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 (referred to as “the Committee”) is the Federal agency that administers the Program. Through two Central Nonprofit Agencies, NIB-National Industries for the Blind and SourceAmerica. 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 underutilized labor resource.
Skils’kin’s Participation in AbilityOne
Skils’kin has been active in the AbilityOne Program since 1978, when we were awarded the contract for base-wide custodial services at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. We still provide custodial services to the base, and have since added grounds maintenance and food services contracts.
In 2005, based upon our success at Fairchild, Skils’kin was awarded the base-wide grounds maintenance contract at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. This was followed in 2007 with the award of the custodial and grounds maintenance contracts for the General Services Administration (GSA) buildings located in Spokane. One year later, we were awarded the base-wide custodial services contract at Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana. In 2010, we branched into a new service category when we were awarded the contract to provide dining facility attendant services at Malmstrom. Starting February 2011, Skils’kin began providing dining facility attendant services at Fairchild AFB. In 2015, we were awarded a contract to provide food services at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne.
Recognized as a leader in the Northwest Region, Skils’kin was honored with the SourceAmerica National “Excellence in Government Contracting Award” in 2004. One of our employees, William “Skip” Back, was selected by NISH to receive the prestigious “Evelyne Villines Award” in 2006, as well as Richard Valliere in 2013, and Sean Stevenson in 2016. In 2013, Darin Hogan of our MAFB location won the William M. Usdane award for SourceAmerica’s Northwest Region.