On May 12th, Goodwill of Greater Washington celebrated the 35th anniversary of providing custodial services at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing (BEP).
The Goodwill and BEP leadership teams gathered at the government printing facility to recognize the amazing partnership. The festivities featured presentations and comments by Goodwill of Greater Washington CEO, Catherine Meloy, and BEP Director, Len Olijar, cake, ice cream, cider, and lots of cheering. We also celebrated the many associates who work at BEP today and those who have come and gone since its doors were opened to Goodwill in 1982.
While we are extremely proud of the work being done at BEP, and the many amazing associates employed there, contract sites like BEP and the people being served through the AbilityOne program are sadly an unintentionally well-kept secret.
Most people know Goodwill by our retail and donated goods operations. However, many Goodwill agencies across the country manage AbilityOne contracts that provide sustainable employment for thousands of people with severe disabilities.
The AbilityOne program is among the nation’s largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Through a national network of more than 550 nonprofit agencies, the program provides the federal government various products and services while employing more than 45,000 individuals.
79% of the man-hours performed at Goodwill of Greater Washington’s 9 contract sites are performed by people with severe disabilities. The starting wage for those people, when combined with healthcare benefits, is $16.50 per hour. Our associates provide custodial services at locations like the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, grounds maintenance services at places like the National Gallery of Art, and even glassware washing at government research facilities.
Thanks to the AbilityOne program organizations like Goodwill help ensure tens of thousands of people with severe disabilities are provided the opportunity to earn a fair wage and benefit from the dignity that comes from being a productive member of the American workforce. They provide a valuable service to our federal government and the people who run it.
We’re proud of each and every one of the people we serve and employ through the AbilityOne program. And we’re particularly proud to have been helping others through employment at BEP for the past 35 years.