AbilityOne Creates Opportunities for People with Disabilities
Palmetto Goodwill’s mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work. We concentrate our mission efforts on assisting anyone with a barrier to employment including individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. We are proud to be one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in South Carolina.
You may be used to seeing these friendly faces around our stores but our shoppers, donors and community often don’t see the many other opportunities we facilitate for these individuals including our participation in a federal program called AbilityOne.
What is AbilityOne?
- AbilityOne is among the largest sources of employment on federal contract sites for individuals with significant disabilities in the United States. It is operated by an independent Federal Agency and employs more than 46,000 people across the country including 3,000 veterans and wounded warriors.
- The program provides a variety of employment opportunities with potential for advancement and eventual placement into a competitive workplace. The program ensures that employees receive on-the-job training, fair wages and benefits. Most importantly, the employees working in these jobs are able to work in a supportive, team-orientated environment.
- This is all accomplished while providing the federal government with quality contract fulfillment in areas such as cleaning, food service, stocking and more. AbilityOne operates at more than 1,000 locations representing 40 government agencies across 15 time zones including all 50 states and Guam and provides services to more than 150 military and government installations.
How is Palmetto Goodwill involved?
- Palmetto Goodwill is proud to have been a part of the program since since 1982, when the organization (then Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina) received its first contract award stocking groceries at the old Navy Base and Naval Weapons Station in Charleston.
- Over the years, Palmetto Goodwill has grown its Contract Services by adding 13 service contracts, which provide work opportunities in food services, custodial services, secured mail room operations, shelf stocking and warehousing services. We currently have contract operations at Joint Base Charleston, the Naval Weapons Station, the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort and the Dam Neck Fleet Training Center in Virginia. On each contract we service, at least 80% of the work is completed by people with disabilities.
- With these contracts, we are able to provide work opportunities through the AbilityOne Program for nearly 250 individuals with significant disabilities and close to 400 people overall.
- Our ultimate goal is to train and transition individuals into mainstream employment opportunities. Over the years, we have transitioned hundreds of individuals with disabilities into fitting employment opportunities where they are able to find long-term success and fulfillment.
Why Does AbilityOne Matter?
The true importance of this program cannot be conveyed through facts or statistics but only through powerful individual stories. Each employee working as an AbilityOne team member plays a pivotal role in our overall success and we are proud to be a part of their success.
Despite being blind, Nate Brown enjoys every day he is able to work in the kitchen chopping vegetables.
Allen Jones has a job where is valued, his peers count on him, and he continues to learn and grow.
Ashley McFarland was able to gain the skills she needed to move onto a job that she dreamed of and she isn’t done yet.