Making a difference: Public Policy
SourceAmerica communicates with key policy makers in the U.S. Congress, and other Federal and state government policy leaders. Our essential goal is to establish good relationships with the people who can forward our mission to protect and increase employment for people with disabilities. SourceAmerica also fosters collaboration with other disability policy organizations.
SourceAmerica tracks legislative activity in all 50 states. Issues that are tracked include employment policy and initiatives, Federal acquisition, state use, wage rates (including 14[c]), Medicaid, home- and community-based services, tax credits, and procurement, just to name a few.
SourceAmerica continuously monitors and comments on Federal rulemakings that will impact the U.S. AbilityOne Program, federal contracting, and employment for people with significant disabilities.
Building good relationships
SourceAmerica also works to establish good relationships with statewide associations. This partnership fosters collaboration when the associations need assistance with an issue or when SourceAmerica looks for support in the states.
We are excited about these policy programs and expect our advocacy work will expand excellent employment choices for people with disabilities.
Real-life impact: grassroots advocacy
When it comes to increasing awareness of important issues and showing policy makers the real-life impact of programs that benefit individuals with significant disabilities, such as the AbilityOne Program, there is no better messenger than employees with disabilities.
Our grassroots advocacy program focuses on making sure the stories of people with disabilities are heard by key policy makers in Washington, DC, and calls attention to the profound and lasting effect these programs have on people with disabilities.
The highlight of our grassroots program is the Grassroots Training Conference. This invitation-only event takes place every June, and invitees include employees with disabilities, their families, and their employers from our national network of nonprofit agencies—with a focus on those nonprofits located in targeted Congressional districts. We provide these invitees with the tools and training they need to personalize and deliver their message about how policy made in Washington shapes the employment choices and opportunities of people with disabilities across our nation.
SourceAmerica and National Industries for the Blind (NIB) established the AbilityOne Congressional Champion Program in 2002 to honor representatives and senators who have demonstrated a commitment to their constituents with significant disabilities or blindness and to the AbilityOne Program. More than 150 Members of the current Congress are AbilityOne Champions and have joined the national effort to ensure employment opportunities continue to grow for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.
Members become AbilityOne Congressional Champions by completing a four-step process:
- Meet with representatives from an AbilityOne agency at the member's district or Washington, D.C. office.
- Tour an AbilityOne agency's manufacturing or service contract site(s).
- Support the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act by using AbilityOne products or services in the member's district or Washington, D.C. office.
- Voice support for the AbilityOne Program through a public communication, such as a press conference statement, Congressional Record statement, social media post, or a similar communication.
Take a look at our current list of AbilityOne Congressional Champions: Congressional Champions List