Phoenix, Ariz.- Arizona Industries for the Blind (AIB) recognized Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., as the nation’s newest recipient of the AbilityOne Congressional Champion Award during a ceremony held in conjunction with 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month at AIB’s Phoenix headquarters on Thursday.
National Industries for the Blind awards members of congress the AbilityOne Champion designation because they demonstrate support for the AbilityOne Program and associated nonprofit agencies through congressional actions.
Providing employment opportunities to nearly 50,000 people, the AbilityOne Program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States.
“The progress that the AbilityOne program has made in advancing persons with disabilities here at home in Arizona and America’s workforce at large is extraordinary and at the heart of what so many of us are trying to emulate across the country,” said Lesko, who represents Arizona’s 8th District.
Under the AbilityOne umbrella, AIB employees work on federal contracts such as military supply chain management services for the U.S. Department of Defense and the operation of Base Supply Centers located at each of Arizona’s three military bases.
“I am proud to support federal programs like AbilityOne. It offers people the opportunity to earn a paycheck while gaining the work experience and confidence they need to become independent and achieve their personal and professional goals,” said Lesko.
“Congresswoman Lesko has been a supporter of employment and training programs throughout her career in public service at the federal and state level and is an enthusiastic supporter of Arizona Industries for the Blind,” said Chris LaFollette, AIB CEO. “We appreciate her work on behalf of blind vets and all Arizonans living with blindness and are proud to recognize her as an AbilityOne Congressional Champion.”
AIB is one of more than one hundred nonprofit agencies associated with National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind. NIB and its associated agencies employ nearly 6,000 people who are blind across the country, including veterans who are blind.
As an AbilityOne Champion, Lesko joins the ranks of the more than 150 current congressional representatives who have publicly shared their support of the AbilityOne Program to help people who are blind or have significant disabilities find employment by working within a national network of over 600 nonprofit agencies that sell products and services to the federal government. More than 46,000 individuals are employed through the AbilityOne Program and its network of nonprofit agencies like AIB.
About Arizona Industries for the Blind
Arizona Industries for the Blind (515 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix, AZ), an associated agency of National Industries for the Blind, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating employment opportunities for people who are blind. Its employees, more than half of whom are blind, deliver a variety of products and services, including a full-service Warehousing and Distribution Center, confidential Digital Data Scan (DDS) services for private businesses and government and the operation of Base Supply Centers located at each of Arizona’s three military bases under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Labor’s AbilityOne program.