Bush urges agencies to buy from AbilityOne program

President Bush wants agencies to buy products and services through a federal program designed to support people with disabilities, according to a memo released today.

The AbilityOne program, formerly known as the Javits-Wagner-O’Day program, is a federal initiative that works with public and private organizations to create jobs for people who are blind or have other disabilities.

In the memo, the president encourages acquisition officials to buy products and services through AbilityOne.

“Strong support from federal customers is critical to fulfilling this important program’s employment mission,” the president wrote in the memo.

Nearly 43,000 people with disabilities work at more than 600 community-based nonprofit groups that sell products and services to the government through AbilityOne, the memo states.

Congress passed legislation creating the program in 1938 to allow organizations employing the blind to sell products to the government. Lawmakers extended the act in 1971 to include people who had other disabilities, according to the program’s Web site.

“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 Jim Nussle, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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