I love the fact that the Federal Government has spent money on such a worthwhile cause, which has changed the way corporations view employment for this important sector of our economy.
So who is NISH and how do they help people with severe disabilities find jobs?
NISH is a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities. NISH conducts leadership in support of the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act (JWOD), and increases awareness and understanding of, and preference for the AbilityOne Program, which secures Federal contracts that, employs disabled people. TheAbilityOne Program is a public-private partnership that supports the employment of people with disabilities.
NISH has introduced a new program whereby agencies designated as “Centers of Excellence” serve as mentors to other agencies to help them improve the quality of the service and products they provide to the federal government.
What is the Jarvits-Wagner-O’Day Act and how to they fit in?
The JWOD Program is the largest single source of jobs in the U.S. for people with disabilities.
Often referred to as the JWOD program, it provides employment opportunities for more than 45,000 people who are blind or have other severe disabilities.
Through the JWOD program, NISH works with a network of more than 600 nonprofit agencies that employ and train people with disabilities.
The program stems from the Wagner-O’Day Act, passed in 1938, which provided employment opportunities for the blind by allowing them to manufacture mops and brooms to sell to the federal government. In 1971, Congress amended the act to include people with severe disabilities and to allow the agencies to provide services as well as products.
According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, two out of three people with disabilities who are not working want to work, but the lack of opportunities and accessibility issues prevent them from finding employment.
The Federal Government works tirelessly behind the scenes.
The Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled is the Federal Agency that oversees the implementation of this Act. They are chiefly responsible to see what products or services are put on the Procurement List that are suitable for this type of employment arrangement.
Local Jobs by For-Profit Corporations
Kroger a local grocery store in the Atlanta Metro area have been utilizing the services of severely disabled people and are happy with the lower turn over rate and the enthusiasm with which their employees work.
I hope this trend continues to help those high unemployment figures for disabled people as I have enjoyed them in my local grocery store. So businesses everywhere take heed and hire these folks as they are great employees.