Ability One program. We are all taught early in civics class about the Founders of our nation and their distrust of strong government. Their individual experiences and research of history taught them collectively that over-powerful government eventually turns oppressive. But the Founders also knew that some type of government was necessary.
Fast-forward to today and the debate over the proper role of government continues. So much so that we oftentimes overlook the programs that provide some citizens with an uplifting sense of responsibility and enhance their own prosperity.
One example is the This program got its start after Congress adopted the 1938 Wagner-O’Day Act. Today, the Ability One program provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the Federal Government. Federal customers are provided a wide variety of quality products and services from over 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities including about 3,000 veterans, including wounded warriors.
Some of the products provided are to assist our brave emergency first responders. For instance New View Oklahoma, a 501c 3 nonprofit organization and Ability One member agency is the state’s leading employer of individuals who are blind and visually impaired, providing more than 100 jobs. Those jobs include the manufacturing of fire hoses used to fight forest fires all across the U.S. As of today, State and Federal forest firefighters in eight western states are battling over 20 wildfires using hoses from New View.
This year’s (2016) forest fire season unfortunately began early with five times more acres already burned than at this time last year. Fire seasons are, on average, 78 days longer than they were in 1970 and, on average, the number of acres burned each year has doubled since 1980.
As this example clearly shows the Ability One program is a government program that delivers in multiple ways including dignified employment and timely delivery of needed emergency equipment. All the men and women affiliated with Ability One should be acknowledged and thanked for getting this government program right.