AbilityOne employees with disabilities will meet with lawmakers to share their stories and to advocate for increased employment opportunities.
VIENNA, Va., Aug. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- SourceAmerica®, an AbilityOne® authorized enterprise committed to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, announced today that its annual Grassroots Advocacy Conference will take place September 11-14, 2023, at the Hilton Washington D.C. National Mall at The Wharf.
This annual event brings employees with disabilities ("self-advocates"), their families, and employers from SourceAmerica's nationwide network of nonprofit agencies to Capitol Hill, where they share their employment journeys with members of Congress and discuss how public policy shapes the employment choices and opportunities for people with disabilities across the nation.
"We are thrilled to welcome our self-advocates and their families to the nation's capital for this unique opportunity to speak directly with their representatives, share inspiring stories, recognize achievements and provide our attendees with support, tools, and training," said Richard Belden, president and CEO of SourceAmerica. "We know how important it is for members of this community to become self-advocates and to convey their experiences to Congress and other policymakers."
Other conference highlights will include:
AbilityOne Congressional Champions Award Presentations
SourceAmerica will present AbilityOne Congressional Champions Awards to members of Congress who have demonstrated a commitment to serving constituents who are blind or have disabilities. Members become AbilityOne Congressional Champions by completing a four-step process.
Celebration of Stories
Self-advocates will share their personal employment journeys with other conference attendees. This event will be the culmination of public speaking training sessions held over the previous three months.
SourceAmerica Disability Employment Educational Fair
New for 2023, SourceAmerica's network will showcase for members of Congress and their staff a range of essential products and services people with disabilities provide to the federal government and military.
September 13, 9 am – 3 pm, Rayburn Gold Room (RHOB 2168)
Self-advocates to meet with lawmakers
Self-advocates will meet with lawmakers to share their employment stories and advocate for increased opportunities for people with disabilities.
September 13-14, Capitol Hill
SourceAmerica will discuss the following initiatives with lawmakers on Capitol Hill:
Support for a 1% AbilityOne Procurement Goal | SourceAmerica supports Congressional efforts to establish a 1% procurement contracting goal for the AbilityOne® Program. Only 0.55% of federal contracting is awarded to AbilityOne authorized providers. By establishing a 1% goal, Congress can level the playing field among federal agency priorities where existing goals for other procurement programs range between 3% and 23%. SourceAmerica calculates that, through the Department of Defense alone, this goal could create an additional 16,400 employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans and wounded warriors.
Support for Supplemental Security Income Reform | SourceAmerica supports reintroducing the SSI Restoration Act and the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act. These bills address issues where individuals with disabilities lose significant and necessary benefits as they gain work and higher wages, and these acts would also eliminate disincentives to work and allow individuals to save money while maintaining their benefits.
Support for the AbilityOne Program | SourceAmerica supports and implements the AbilityOne Program, which is among the nation's largest providers of jobs for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. The Program enhances America's economy by delivering nearly $4 billion of products and services annually to federal agencies, including manufacturing combat uniforms and equipment for service members and performing mission-essential services that support military readiness.
To learn more about the Grassroots Advocacy Conference, please visit https://www.sourceamerica.org/get-involved/public-policy/grassroots-advocacy-events
SourceAmerica connects government customers and other organizations to a national network of AbilityOne authorized providers that hire a talented segment of the workforce—people with disabilities. Established in 1974, SourceAmerica is committed to increasing economic and social inclusion and advocating for a more accessible future of work for people with disabilities. SourceAmerica, an AbilityOne authorized enterprise, harnesses the momentum and boosts the capability of its network and customers as a leading job connector for the disability community. To learn more, visit SourceAmerica.org and follow @SourceAmerica on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.