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U.S. AbilityOne Commission

James M. Kesteloot, Chairperson
Tina Ballard, Executive Director

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How Liaisons Can Help

As a government wide program, the success of AbilityOne depends on the leadership and interest of key liaisons in every Federal agency. On an ongoing basis such individuals help the AbilityOne team understand how it can best meet each agency's unique acquisition needs. AbilityOne Liaisons also serve as knowledgeable resources who help communicate to agency personnel how support of this program helps to generate critically needed employment and training opportunities for thousands of Americans who are blind or have significant disabilities.

Each liaison brings a unique combination of experience, creative energy and vitality to the way in which the AbilityOne message is communicated. Listed below are a number of suggested activities that AbilityOne Liaisons can discuss with representatives from the Commission, NIB, SourceAmerica® or local NIB- and SourceAmerica-associated nonprofit agencies.

Advocate

Monitor the growth of AbilityOne support within your area and help promote program visibility by reporting on the level of AbilityOne products and services that have been purchased. Also be aware of acquisition plans within the agency in order to identify new opportunities for the provision of AbilityOne items. Periodically report progress and growth to your supervisor and senior procurement officials.

Help arrange visits for acquisition personnel and others in your office to AbilityOne contract sites or NIB and SourceAmerica participating nonprofit agencies employing people with significant disabilities.

Arrange for key AbilityOne team members to make courtesy calls on senior procurement officials, particularly when a new contact person starts working with the agency.

Help the AbilityOne team locate other individuals in your agency who may also be interested in serving as a liaison with the AbilityOne Program due to a key job responsibility or personal interest in advocating for people with disabilities.

Recommend an awards program or some other appropriate recognition for agency employees who support the AbilityOne program.

Communicate

Establish electronic links on appropriate agency websites utilized by acquisition personnel and purchase card users, as well as public announcements and articles about the AbilityOne program in agency web sites, e-mail, newsletters, magazines and other media.

Periodically transmit policy memoranda and/or letters of support, which explain the status of AbilityOne as a mandatory source of supply for the Federal Government and how to support the program.

Educate

Identify opportunities for AbilityOne representatives to make presentations and/or exhibit at agency conferences.

Help arrange briefings and training sessions for key groups, such as purchase card program coordinators, purchase card users, human resource managers, contracting officials and acquisition staff.

Sponsor "AbilityOne Week" events using the suggestions in the resource book produced each year for this activity.

Attend and encourage others to attend annual AbilityOne training conferences sponsored by National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and SourceAmerica. Attend other AbilityOne meetings and events, such as periodic meetings held for AbilityOne Liaisons or a monthly meeting of the AbilityOne Commission.

Collaborate

Share your ideas with other AbilityOne Liaisons! Email Eric Beale of the Commission staff with a monthly update of your AbilityOne Liaison activities so that they can be shared with your peers.

 

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