Ability One

A strong beginning for continued success.

Amidst the Great Depression, the Wichita Workshop and Training School for the Adult Blind opened in 1933. The purpose was simple but revolutionary at the time: to give individuals who were blind the skills necessary to make and sell their own products and enable them to keep the profits.

In 1938, the government passed the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act (now known as AbilityOne). This law awarded government contracts to companies who employed individuals who were blind to make government products, as long as the products were within government specifications. Immediately, the Wichita Workshop and Training School went to work supplying pillowcases and brooms to the federal government, including to the United States Army during WWII.

This moment in our history was just one example of our ability to change quickly to the needs of the marketplace. For nearly a century and continuing today, we consistently acquire new contracts for items ranging from plastic bags to janitorial supplies to military protective wear.

How we make AbilityOne work for us

The unemployment rate in the United States for people who are blind or visually impaired is close to 65 percent and has been high for decades. We find this statistic unacceptable. As a leading employer of individuals who are blind or visually impaired, we employ hundreds of individuals who are blind or visually impaired in areas all across our operations, including manufacturing, sales, management, administration and many other areas of our organization.

The AbilityOne Program is the largest national source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States. Here at Envision, we’re proud to be one of approximately 500 nonprofit organizations that provide quality products and services to the Federal Government at a fair market price.