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Increasing Contracting Opportunities with the AbilityOne Program

July 8, 2010

To: Heads of Contracting Activity

From: Nancy J. Gunderson /signed/, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability

Subject: APM-2010-02 - Increasing Contracting Opportunities with the AbilityOne Program

The AbilityOne Program helps more than 45,000 people who are blind or have other severe disabilities find employment, by providing products and services to the Federal government at fair market prices.  Contracting with the AbilityOne Program creates more job opportunities for such individuals, including service-disabled veterans who have transitioned to the AbilityOne Program. 

The AbilityOne Program was created by the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act (41 USC 46-48c).  The Program is administered by the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (Committee) (an independent federal agency), with assistance from National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and NISH-Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Severe Disabilities.  The Committee provides oversight for the AbilityOne Program, determines suitable products and services, adds those products and services to its Procurement List, and establishes fair market prices for such products and services.  NIB and NISH are the designated central non-profit agencies that support the program by providing federal customers with technical assistance (in areas such as business development, contract management, and engineering).

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 8.7 prescribes policies and procedures for the Government’s mandatory purchase of supplies or services on the Committee’s Procurement List.  The Procurement List may be found at:  Please ensure that the proper priority order for required sources of products and services is followed, including purchases made under the Purchase Card Program.

Please work with your contracting staff and program and project managers to: a) promote compliance with AbilityOne Program requirements; and b) increase employment for this community by procuring more quality goods and services from the AbilityOne Program.  To further support the AbilityOne program, please consider taking one or more of the following steps:

Recommend to the Committee that appropriate products or services be added to the AbilityOne Procurement List.

  • Reward or recognize innovative AbilityOne procurements.
  • Invite AbilityOne Program representatives to speak at HHS meetings and conferences (including exhibit booths).
  • Increase use of AbilityOne environmentally-preferred products such as bio-based cleaning products.
  • Encourage prime contractors to consider subcontracting with AbilityOne Program’s non-profit agencies when appropriate.
  • Discuss the potential applicability and use of AbilityOne products and services in individual Acquisition Plans.

For more information on AbilityOne, please visit

Acquisition Policy and Guidance