Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

CONGRESSMAN BISHOP SUPPORTS EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Sep 24, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) led 57 of his colleagues in supporting increasing opportunities for the employment of persons with disabilities by co-authoring a letter requesting the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) explain their degree of adherence to the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act, which requires federal agencies to buy products and services from an agency employing individuals with disabilities. The AbilityOne program offers employment opportunities for nearly 50,000 individuals who are blind or have other disabilities.

“We want to make sure federal government entities support programs that offer employment opportunities for individuals who are blind or have other disabilities,” said Congressman Bishop. “A thriving workforce is an inclusive workforce and it is our responsibility to make that happen.”

As the members wrote in the letter, “We ask GSA to work with us, the AbilityOne Commission, and National Industries for the Blind to guarantee compliance with the JWOD Act and further the goal of creating long-term, stable employment for Americans who are blind or who have other significant disabilities.”

The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) task is to provide equipment, supplies, telecommunications, information technology, and other services to government organizations. The JWOD Act mandates that federal government entities obtain any products or services included on the AbilityOne Program Procurement List (PL) from a nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other significant disabilities as long as that product or service is available within the normal period required by that government entity. When products are on the PL and a federal agency has a need for them, those products must be purchased from the AbilityOne Program. Federal employees are prohibited from purchasing products determined to be “essentially the same” as products on the PL.

 

Below is the full text of the sent letter:

The Honorable Dan M. Tangherlini

Administrator

U.S. General Services Administration

Washington, DC 20405

Dear Administrator Tangherlini:

We write today regarding the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)’s compliance with the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act, which requires federal agencies to purchase specified products and services through the AbilityOne Program.

The AbilityOne Program offers employment opportunities for nearly 50,000 individuals who are blind or have other significant disabilities. The JWOD Act mandates that federal government entities obtain any products or services included on the AbilityOne Program Procurement List (PL) from a nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other significant disabilities as long as that product or service is available within the normal period required by that government entity.

When products are on the PL and a federal agency has a need for them, those products must be purchased from the AbilityOne Program. Federal employees are prohibited from purchasing products determined to be “essentially the same” as products on the PL.

In order to ensure GSA is fully aware of, and in compliance with, the AbilityOne purchase requirements mandated by the JWOD Act, we ask GSA to respond to the following questions:

  • What has been the performance of GSA commercial contractors with regard to maintaining the AbilityOne mandatory status? How has GSA managed non-compliant contractors?
  • What mark-up does GSA apply to AbilityOne products sold through GSA Global Supply?
  • What specific policies will GSA follow to ensure that commercial contractors comply with the mandatory requirements of the AbilityOne program?

We ask GSA to work with us, the AbilityOne Commission, and National Industries for the Blind to guarantee compliance with the JWOD Act and further the goal of creating long‐term, stable employment for Americans who are blind or who have other significant disabilities.

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