The AbilityOne Program is a federal initiative to help people who are blind or have other severe disabilities find employment by working for nonprofit agencies (NPAs) that sell products and/or services to the U.S. government. With a national network of 600 NPAs, AbilityOne is the largest source of employment for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities in the United States.
In 1938, Congress created a program enabling agencies serving people who were blind to sell products to the Federal government. By 1971, the original Wagner-O’Day Act was amended to permit people with other significant disabilities to also benefit and is known today as the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (Committee) is the Federal agency authorized to administer the AbilityOne Program. The Committee is responsible for determining which products and services are suitable to place on its Procurement List for the Federal government. It also determines the fair market prices for those items.
The Committee has designated two central NPAs to assist with program implementation: the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and NISH – Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Severe Disabilities. More than 600 NPAs associated with either NIB or NISH produce products and services under the AbilityOne Program. The core criteria for NPA eligibility is that 75% of total direct labor hours must be performed by people who are blind or have other severe disabilities.