NATIONAL NEWS FOR AbilityOne PRODUCING & AFFILIATED CRPS
PACIFIC WEST REGION AND NATIONAL NEWS Products Connection . . . 2 Each 14-by-33-foot LED flag rendition, located in Times Square, New York, N.Y., consists of 110,460 LEDs; 260 LEDs on each printed circuit board; 416 circuit boards; eight printed circuit boards; and 52 troughs.
Building a Legacy: The Herkimer ARC Times Square Flag Project By Joan Wishod Reardon, director, Public Relations, Herkimer ARC
alk to Suzanne Bakiewicz, director, National Business Development, Herkimer Industries (HI) in Herkimer, N.Y., and you will quickly realize she agrees with the old adage: “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” That is… a Wil Kuhnlenz. Kuhnlenz, NISH director of Business Development, Partnership and Alliances, and the NISH team were important advocates in helping to bring together partners to complete a project to place LED American flag renditions in Times Square—all within a very tight timeline from August to December 2011.
The challenge: to provide the landmark Times Square Armed Forces Recruiting Station in New York City with a new face—a modern, more accurate portrayal of the American flag—and to increase energy efficiency of the facility. The project required electrical engineering design, creation and installation of two 14-by-33-foot LED American flags affixed to each side of the 520-square-foot walk-in station, which is the single most successful station in the country, playing an important role in the recruiting effort for the Armed Forces.
“Wil Kuhnlenz and the entire NISH team are an outstanding group to work with,” said Bakiewicz. “Their many years of background knowledge and experience in exceeding the expectations of Federal agencies provided unparalleled support for this project.” The partners involved in the American flag project included the Herkimer ARC, AbilityOne® producing nonprofit agency Herkimer Industries, Fiberdyne Labs Inc., Intercontinental Development Corporation, NISH, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Armed Forces. Herkimer ARC President and CEO Kevin Crosley commented, “This is a story about building a legacy. These flags are on display at one of America’s No. 1 tourist attractions.1 Nearly 38 million sightseers revel in Times Square’s bright lights each year. We were able to partner with Fiberdyne Labs, an 8(a) for-profit business that produces custom LED signs and lighting. 1
Herkimer continues on page 13
AbilityOne Design Challenge University Winners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Pacific West Region News . . . . . . . . . 4 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Hosts AbilityOne Day 2012 . . 14 Challenge Enterprises Hosts Group of Inventors . . . . . . . . . 15 QWE Scoop . . . . . . . . . 17 Chesapeake Center Increases Productivity . 19 Job Squad and Christopher O’Dell . . . . 22 Revised 404 Collection Form Expected . . . . . . . 25
Tell the Products Sheriff As a reminder, please use the “Tell the Products Sheriff” e-mail address: TPS@ nish.org, to obtain responses to specific Products questions and to comment on Products issues and concerns. E-mails are responded to within three business days and selected responses (minus agency and personal information) will be printed in future Products Connection issues.
Oct. 1, 2011 to Aug. 15, 2012 Federal Opportunities Sole Source Notices
Sources Sought Notices
RFI 5 M&Ds Sole Source Notices
Sources Sought Notices
Commercial RFIs 2 Number of FTEs Added
Total PL Line Extensions/ Commercial/M&D 182.97 Number of Price Changes Processed 150* Number of Allocations Processed 145 *As of July 10
Cost vs. Price — What’s the Connection?
avid A. Reed, CPA, a former government contracts auditor for 29 years, joined the NISH staff in 2011 as director of government contracting compliance. Reed, who has extensive experience in costing and Federal regulations, provided training on direct and indirect costs at the NISH National Training and Achievement Conference in May. In this article, Reed highlights growing trends related to cost and pricing in the government marketplace and the importance of understanding the relationship of cost and price.
The relationship between cost and price cannot be overstated. By definition, price = costs + profit (or net proceeds). Even in those instances where price analysis/market research is adequate to support a fair and reasonable price determination, CRPs need to ensure they are accurately identifying the actual costs to produce the product or provide the service. As government customers subject CRP proposals to more scrutiny, CRPs will be required to provide rational explanations of their cost estimates consistent with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). The most pertinent of these regulations can be found in FAR 15.404 and FAR 31.7/ OMB Circular A-122. FAR 15.404, Proposal Analysis, specifies the procedures to be used by government contracting personnel for analyzing proposals submitted by CRPs. With an increasing trend of using cost analysis, which entails reviewing individual cost components and profit, CRPs will be expected to not only provide more detailed cost data, but also to explain how this data complies with applicable FAR cost principles. In addition to estimating direct costs, developing and applying indirect cost rates used in the proposal will also be of particular concern. Contracting officers consider indirect costs a prime target for potential price reductions, which means CRPs should understand exactly which costs are truly indirect, and how these costs
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should be effectively managed and controlled if they have any hope of appropriately recovering them on AbilityOne® contracts. The applicable cost principles that define indirect costs and the methods for allocating them to contracts are contained in FAR 31.7/OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations. Pricing Memoranda 2 and 3, published by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission™, specifically address these cost principles. For product manufacturers, the concepts of overhead and G&A (general and administrative costs), both of which meet the definition of indirect cost, should be clearly understood. Recent experience indicates that contracting officers are asking more and more questions about proposed indirect costs and they are challenging the bases over which these costs are being allocated. CRPs have total discretion in deciding how to define and allocate indirect costs, but the selected methodologies must comply with the principles prescribed by FAR 31.7/A-122. CRPs must also recognize the importance of maintaining an accounting system that appropriately and consistently segregates direct and indirect costs, and allocates costs equitably to all benefitting contracts and functions within the organization. The AbilityOne Program is facing tremendous challenges in today’s environment of government fiscal constraints. CRPs are being asked for additional support for their proposed prices. A more in-depth understanding of the FAR cost and pricing principles is necessary to ensure CRPs are making appropriate business decisions and recognizing that negotiated AbilityOne contract prices may not allow for the recovery of all costs. For more information on direct and indirect costs and accounting system requirements, contact David Reed at email@example.com or (678) 838-5407.
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2012-2013 AbilityOne Design Challenge High School Deadline: January 14, 2013 University Deadline: April 17, 2013 For more information, visit: www.instituteforempower ment.org/design-challenge
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CRP Connection • NATIONAL • Fall 2012 • 3
Pacific West Region Connection
News From the NISH Pacific West Region
Executive Director’s Note The Times, They Are A-Changin’
y now most of you are aware of some of the organizational changes NISH has made over the past couple of years. These changes reflect an effort to focus more of our resources on business development and job creation. Even though all of these changes have been discussed at National Council of Work Centers meetings and written about in various publications, I thought it would be helpful to highlight several of the most significant changes affecting community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) in the Pacific West Region.
First, NISH created a program office that focuses solely on Total Facilities Management (TFM) projects. TFM can be performed for both Department of Defense and civilian agencies,
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and involves the management of real property as well as the maintenance of essential government infrastructure. The actual jobs vary from site to site but can include such diverse skill sets as plumbing, electrical work, light construction and renovation, and heating and air conditioning maintenance. Because this work requires significant capital investment and significant experience, NISH staffed the TFM program office with individuals holding specific expertise in this field and the capability to provide the specialized price versus cost insight and technical assistance required for this business line. Another more subtle change—but significant from an internal operations point of view—is the pooling of all of NISH’s business development resources into an integrated team. This integrated Executive Director’s Note continues on page 5
Pacific West Region Connection
HOPE Services Expands Innovative Green Businesses By Sarah Patton, senior project analyst, NISH Pacific West
eadquartered in San Jose, Calif., producing AbilityOne® CRP HOPE Services is expanding its green business ventures organization-wide. HOPE initiated its green services as pilot programs through its Monterey County District’s Mattress Recycling, Electronic Waste to Wages (e-WTW) and Adopt-A-Highway campaigns. In September 2011, NISH awarded HOPE a $100,000 grant through the Innovative Job Growth Program to expand its e-WTW Monterey County District program’s service area to include HOPE’s additional four service districts spanning from south of the San Francisco Bay through the Monterey Bay Area.
HOPE concluded that these two counties in its service area produce about 55 million pounds of e-waste on an annual basis, which is more than enough to sustain HOPE’s recycling program growth. Local recycling competitors also do not offer a benefit back to organizations providing e-waste, as HOPE does. The current favorable market for the metals used in electronics will also aid the economic viability of HOPE’s e-waste recycling. HOPE continues on page 6
In developing a social enterprise model, HOPE recognized an opportunity to capitalize on green business, not only because it presented a chance to help the environment, but also because it provided a sustainable work opportunity for HOPE’s clients. “The whole idea of going green, we thought, was an opportunity because green was going to be localized; it wasn’t going to go offshore,” said HOPE Monterey District Director George Molano. E-Waste to Wages
In order to ensure market demand for expanding e-WTW to its other district offices, HOPE enlisted the support of the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team to conduct a market analysis of the local electronic waste supply. Conservative estimates from the analysis revealed that the average person produces about 22 pounds of e-waste per year. Coupled with U.S. Census Bureau data estimating the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo at 2.5 million residents,
Executive Director’s Note continued from page 4
team allows business development resources to be shifted from region to region based upon workload needs. Each regional office will maintain a business development team, but you may start to see new faces working with you. We hope this will increase our responsiveness and effectiveness in business development. We also began serious research into various franchises. We are targeting franchises with a strong track record, excellent growth potential
Left to right: HOPE staff member Luis Garcia and client-employee Joaquin Villagomez post a sign for an e-WTW event at an elementary school.
and the ability to thrive in a diverse set of communities. If our finances allow, we hope to begin funding several of these on a pilot basis in early FY2013. Lastly, I would like to announce the retirement of our longtime director of Business Development, Craig Lawrence, in June this year. Craig devoted 19 years to NISH after a long career in the Navy and plans to spend more time with his wife and family. We wish him well. Best Regards, David Dubinsky
CRP Connection • PACIFIC WEST REGION • Fall 2012 • 5
Pacific West Region Connection
HOPE continued from page 5
HOPE developed e-WTW as a partnership program for collecting e-waste with local nonprofit organizations, schools (K-12 and colleges), companies and government agencies. After forming a partnership via a memorandum of understanding with a specific organization, HOPE works with the organization to promote and hold at least four-e-waste collection events per year at the organization’s site. At the collection events, HOPE’s employees collect and sort e-waste for sale to a state-approved e-waste recycler. HOPE is committed to e-stewardship and the data security of the electronic items that are donated. The e-waste recycler refines the e-waste to recapture various materials and the hard drives are sanitized to eliminate data risk. No materials are sent overseas.
HOPE Services’ client-employees collect and sort e-waste at the U.S. Geological Services, Menlo Park.
HOPE’s e-WTW is a particular benefit to partnering schools and disabilities advocates. HOPE’s Monterey District currently holds partnerships with eight school districts in Monterey County, representing approximately 50,000 students. Eighty percent of HOPE continues on page 7
Director of HOPE Services’ Green Business Solutions John Bell exhibits two weeks worth of mattress batting at HOPE’s Monterey District mattress recycling facility. 6 • Fall 2012 • PACIFIC WEST REGION • CRP Connection
Pacific West Region Connection
HOPE continued from page 6
proceeds generated from these e-waste events are transferred back to the schools in the form of job credits performed by HOPE clients. Partner schools determine which work areas might best suit their current needs, like grounds maintenance or custodial work, and HOPE’s employees perform these services. The e-WTW events bring environmental stewardship and people with disabilities to the center stage. The program helps dispel negative myths about people with disabilities and teaches the students and school staff that many people with disabilities can work and contribute to their communities. HOPE has started providing disability awareness training to local schools that may improve negative stereotypes associated with students with disabilities. e-WTW also allows HOPE to provide some of its clients with the most significant disabilities with work experience and thereby increase their productivity for future work opportunities. The e-WTW program events also present green partnership and informal disability awareness opportunities for HOPE’s AbilityOne project sites. HOPE has performed custodial services for the General Services Administration (GSA) at the U.S. Geological Services (USGS) in Menlo Park since 1993, and seven people with significant disabilities currently work on this contract. In December 2011, HOPE partnered with GSA to hold an e-waste collection event at the USGS. This past April, HOPE’s Monterey District held a collection event at the Monterey Naval Postgraduate School where 25 AbilityOne employees perform custodial services. Mattress Recycling
For the past three years, HOPE Services’ Monterey District has piloted the Mattress Recycling program, designed to remain sustainable for full-year work cycles through contracts with local businesses and waste management districts. As a green program, HOPE recycles all of the mattress components; employees breakdown the mattresses and sort all of the recovered materials. Vendors purchase the recovered box springs, framing and batting materials from the mattresses. Box springs are sold for metal scrap; wood frames are chopped into wood chips for landscape work; and mattress batting is used for carpet padding. During HOPE’s FY2011, the Monterey District recycled approximately 10,000 mattresses, generating $71,865, and providing 5,970 work hours to 25 HOPE clients. By the end of HOPE’s FY2012, June 30, the Monterey District had recycled approximately 14,000 mattresses,
HOPE client-employee Ivan Rodriquez separates a mattress’ wood frame from its springs.
equaling 9,000 hours of paid work. In combination, HOPE’s other Districts have completed 3,000 total mattresses in FY2012, equaling an additional 1,900 client work hours. Local hotels contact HOPE on either an occasional or regularly contracted basis to collect and recycle their old mattresses as well as worn towels and linens, which can be sold for ragging materials. HOPE also maintains consistent work through a national mattress recycling contract. At this time, HOPE recycles about 95 percent of the mattresses in Monterey County through its favorable relationship with local hotels, local waste management districts and public drop off at HOPE facilities. According to HOPE’s Green Business Solutions Director John Bell, customer service is the key to maintaining HOPE’s business relationships and remaining competitive against other service providers. “HOPE’s competitive advantage is our responsiveness, our concentration on customer service and making recycling with HOPE a good experience.” HOPE continues on page 8 CRP Connection • PACIFIC WEST REGION • Fall 2012 • 7
Pacific West Region Connection
Left to right: HOPE client-employees Yvette Borawski, Peter Saenz and Andrea Guinto remove litter along the Recreation Trail in Pacific Grove.
HOPE continued from page 7 Adopt-A- Highway
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) created the Adopt-A-Highway program to encourage community organizations to sponsor litter abatement and beautification on two-mile segments of California highways. “Courtesy Signs,” erected by Caltrans, recognize sponsoring organizations’ contributions. HOPE Monterey realized that Adopt-A-Highway’s sponsoring companies and organizations usually subcontract the program’s actual litter abatement and beautification work. These beautification subcontracts have given HOPE another avenue to provide employment and wages for its clients. In choosing Adopt-A-Highway opportunities, HOPE is selective about which
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segments of highway are safe enough for its clients to perform liter abatement. All of HOPE’s employees wear fluorescent orange shirts, yellow reflective vests and hard hats for additional safety. Each employee is also required to complete a safety certification prior to working on the crews. HOPE’s Monterey employees perform additional community services that enhance the environment. HOPE employees tend to local school and community gardens. They also clean street-side recycle bins for the City of Monterey, perform liter abatement in Pacific Grove, and clean streets and perform landscaping work in Old Town Salinas. For more information about partnering through HOPE’s e-WTW and Mattress Recycling service lines, please contact HOPE’s Director of Green Business Solutions John Bell at jbell@Hopeservices.org.
Pacific West Region Connection
Opportunity Village Protects Red Rock Canyon’s Natural Beauty
as Vegas is known for a lot of things. Just say “Vegas” and you are sure to get a unique picture in your head. The extravagant city is home to more than 2 million residents. Desert living provides unique opportunities and unique scenery. Outdoor enthusiasts, nature seekers and conservationists will find the most remarkable national conservation area just outside the city. Overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Red Rock National Conservation Area protects and displays some very unique artifacts indigenous to the Mojave Desert.
The Red Rock Canyon hosts a projected one million visitors annually. It is located 17 miles west of Las Vegas off of State Route 159 and consists of more than 195,500 acres of land. Some people venture to Red Rock to enjoy the Visitor Center and the many beautiful and informative displays. Some people visit Red Rock as a stop along a very strenuous bicycle route, others visit in order to run or walk the 13.1 mile scenic route. The vast majority of visitors to Red Rock Canyon come out to picnic, climb and explore the more than 30 miles of hiking trails.
In initializing service on the contract, the scope of the Red Rock National Conservation Area contract was more challenging than Opportunity Village had previously attempted. For starters, OV recognized a requirement for a specialized truck that could handle the rough terrain of unpaved roads to the picnic areas and was capable of hauling out trash. Remote and outlying areas, uncommon to other contract sites, needed restroom service as well as trash and recycling containers. OV employees have learned to rely upon large brim hats, sunscreen and lots of water to get the job done in the hot desert climate. Red Rock’s newly constructed Visitor Center opened in 2011. The building added approximately 7,400 square feet of interior space and another 7,100 square feet of exterior patio and walk space to the contract. The team at Red Rock cleans the fee gate for park entry,
restrooms, rest stops and more than 40 picnic tables in multiple areas throughout the entire 13.1 mile loop. Outlying and remote areas are also inspected and cleaned regularly. Feedback from visitors and the BLM about Opportunity Village’s work at Red Rock has been quite positive, and OV is proud to boast this AbilityOne contract as another great success. Four people with significant disabilities employed at the Red Rock contract site interact with thousands of visitors and provide needed services to preserve a national treasure. The BLM, Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association and Friends of Red Rock Canyon hosted a luncheon in December for the OV team to honor their fine work and presented them an individually signed “thank you” plaque. Red Rock continues on page 10
Red Rock’s natural setting posed some unique considerations in terms of custodial service requirements. Up for the challenge and eager to support the conservation effort, Opportunity Village’s (OV) team jumped at the chance to work with the BLM in 2006. A provider of employment and vocational services to more than 1,700 people annually, OV operates several AbilityOne® contracts throughout the community. The nonprofit already provides successful custodial services in more traditional settings, so why not take these services to the next level?
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Pacific West Region Connection
Red Rock continued from page 9
Opportunity Village successfully operates several AbilityOne contracts and employs more than 85 people with disabilities through AbilityOne. Contracts include Mess Attendant services at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), where OV serves more than 350,000 meals a year to airmen and women, and postal services. AbilityOne employees from Opportunity Village also clean millions of square feet of office and commercial space throughout Las Vegas, enabling a number of people with disabilities to boast their own employment success stories. Ernestine Hudgins has proudly provided custodial services at the Red Rock Canyon since April 2010. She is responsible for maintaining the facilities at the visitor center and administration building. Hudgins frequently provides assistance to the site supervisor and aids in ensuring the cleanliness of the external facilities on the scenic route. When asked what she
A small ground snake admires the view at the BLM’s Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center.
enjoys most, Hudgins noted that she especially loves meeting new people on a daily basis. “It is a different experience daily, and I’m happy to be a part of that,” Hudgins exclaimed. She enjoys working with Red Rock Canyon staff and has developed great working
relationships with many of the BLM employees. Hudgins loves working outdoors and looks forward to the different climate changes. She has learned a lot of important history about Nevada and knows she can relay that information to her young child. The future is bright for Ernestine Hudgins and Opportunity Village. The Red Rock contract site is just one success among many. Opportunity Village is Nevada’s largest AbilityOne contractor, and this nonprofit looks forward to continue increasing the employment rate of people with disabilities.
AbilityOne employee Ernestine Huggins protects the health of park visitors by cleaning restroom countertops at the Red Rock Visitor Center.
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Join us for the 2012 Northwest & Pacific West National Council of Work Centers Conference
October 9 - 11, 2012 Portland, Oregon
Hilton Portland & Executive Tower 921 SW Sixth Avenue Portland, OR 97204 NISH Pacific West Contact: Alicia Pagan (925) 543-5101 firstname.lastname@example.org
NISH Northwest Contact: April Murray (206) 272-3535 email@example.com
Pacific West Region Connection
Sales Pipeline or Parking Lot (Part One) Adapted from Chip Doyle’s Good Selling
rojects in sales should be moving just like water flows in a pipeline. A sales pipeline is a list of sales opportunities or projects. If an object got stuck in your pipes at home, causing restricted flow, what would you do?
Every resident knows that his pipes need to allow unrestricted flow. Yet business owners let the same salespeople talk about the same projects every month. Those salespeople act more like parking valets accepting new projects and parking them, expecting the prospects to come back to get their project. If you leave your car in a parking lot for more than a specified time, it will be towed away. Same thing goes for sales. If projects aren’t moving through the pipe on an agreed upon timeline, they should be “towed” away out of the pipeline. Surfers get this concept. Either you are riding the wave (in the pipe) or you have water up your nostrils. There’s no in-between. Organization and efficiency experts say the same thing too. Clear the clutter! Any efficient workspace is clean and clear of unnecessary clutter. If something is getting in your way or occupying your attention that serves no useful purpose, the experts recommend removal. Clearing the clutter is a useful mandate for the salesperson’s pipeline of projects.
Almost every interaction with a prospect should move the project position up, down or out of the pipeline. If the salesperson can’t discern what to do with a prospect’s position in the sales pipeline, then either management has not been clear on how to prioritize prospects or the salesperson isn’t asking questions. The article “The Secret to Sales” tells a story about salespeople who were afraid to get to a “no.” The salespeople kept calling on the same prospects over and over again “hoping” for a sale. Ironically, a salesperson does not fail because he doesn’t have anything in his pipeline. Ninety percent of all salespeople, consultants, attorneys, CEOs and CPAs understand they need to have identified opportunities. But when they have a full pipeline, they act with complacency, subtly kidding themselves that something must be closing soon. We’ll talk more about sales pipelines in a future CRP Connection. For more information on sales training, visit www.chipdoyle.sandler.com. © Copyright Sandler Training. All rights reserved
Smart Tip for a Tough Economy: The California Teleconnect Fund Established in 1996, the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) offers a 50 percent discount to approved California nonprofit organizations on monthly reoccurring charges, excluding usage fees, for eligible phone services. For certain organizations, the CTF discount works in conjunction with the balance remaining after the organization’s E-Rate discount. Nonprofits must show proof of their 501(c) (3) or 501(d) nonprofit status and apply for the discount through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC reviews the nonprofit’s
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application and responds with an approval, rejection or deficiency notification. If the nonprofit is approved, the organization must provide their participating CTF provider with their approval notification code. The reduction will appear on the nonprofit’s phone statement as a monthly discount. For more information on the California Teleconnect Fund and a list of participating providers, visit www.cpuc.ca. gov/puc/telco/public+programs/CTF/.
Markus Irvine, one of the three veterans with disabilities who worked on the LED project, was inspired by his work on the LED panels and circuitry during the creation and construction of the flags. He has since enrolled in an electrical engineering program at a local college to continue developing his skills in this field.
Herkimer continued from page 1
The project employed six people with disabilities, including three veterans. The flags were fabricated with materials made in the United States—many from the state of New York. This venture is a good illustration of a collaboration that creates partnerships and employment and honors our nation’s Armed Forces. When you put all these facets together, you have a very special project.” Markus Irvine, one of the three veterans with disabilities who worked on the project, said, “As a veteran, I feel great pride in this project, and I hope it brings pride to the people who see it. Someday, while walking through Times Square with my two daughters and son, I’ll show them the American flags and say, ‘Daddy helped to build these.’ I know they’ll be proud.” While Fiberdyne Labs spearheaded the design and engineering for the project,
Herkimer Industries also provided project management, de-installation at the New York City site, fabrication, installation and testing, and final site cleanup. People with disabilities were also instrumental in the success of the project, performing cutting and assembly of wiring harnesses for each flag, which consists of 110,460 LEDs per flag; 260 LEDs on each printed circuit board; 416 circuit boards on each flag; eight printed circuit boards; and 52 troughs per flag. Flag creation was performed at Herkimer Industries and the Fiberdyne manufacturing plant in Frankfort, N.Y. Veterans also assisted with the onsite fabrication, assembly and material handling in New York City. Some of these tasks included disassembly and removal of existing fluorescent bulbs, ballasts and components; assembly and installation of wiring and conduits to the LED units from the provided electrical panels; installation of
the LED systems on ledges/trays that match the stainless steel interior; and testing and site cleaning services. “Herkimer Industries and Fiberdyne Labs make a great team,” Crosley said. “We finished and installed the project ahead of schedule. The building and installation of the Times Square flags has become the single most exciting project we’ve worked on in the Herkimer ARC’s history. I think the legacy of the flags will carry on for many years to come, and this project will lead us to additional meaningful work opportunities for the people we support.”
CRP Connection • NATIONAL • Fall 2012 • 13
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Hosts AbilityOne Day 2012
ollaboration was the word of the day on April 16 at the first-ever WrightPatterson Air Force Base AbilityOne® Day. The Enterprise Sourcing Group (ESG), NISH and NIB hosted a one-day training conference to provide government acquisition personnel insight into the AbilityOne Program and display the diverse capabilities of the community rehabilitation program (CRP) community. Carl Shofner, director, ESG, Air Force Materiel Command and Dr. Steve Butler, executive director, Air Force Materiel Command, kicked off the day’s events with words of support for this inaugural event and asked the audience to embrace the opportunity to learn more about AbilityOne and how to collaborate with CRPs on future contract opportunities. The ESG is responsible for strategically sourcing goods and services throughout 71 installations. Marie McManus, Air Force key account manager, NISH, was instrumental in building this relationship and opening new doors for the AbilityOne Program at WrightPatterson.
A highlight of this event was Nathan Short sharing his story with the participants. Short is a wounded warrior and a member of NISH’s Speakers Bureau. Short was injured while on active duty in Iraq. His heroic story touched the individuals in the room as they listened to him and followed his journey. Short shared how difficult it was for him after returning home on a medical discharge. Fortunately, through the AbilityOne Program, he found himself and learned to utilize the skills acquired in the military. Short discussed his experi-
The training sessions focused on the benefits of partnering with the AbilityOne Program and clearing up any misconceptions people may have about the Program. Bob Chamberlin, president and CEO of NISH, and Scottie Knott, chief operating officer, NIB, joined Zeich on a senior leader panel to field questions from the contracting personnel. This session was received extremely well as it sparked great conversation and created a safe environment to discuss important topics and share best practices.
Nearly 200 people attended the training and exhibit show. Along with the training session, 18 CRPs hosted booths in the exhibit area displaying their At the first Wright-Patterson AFB AbilityOne Day, 18 CRPs hosted booths in the exhibit area, displaying their capabilities in various product capabilities in various product and service lines of business. and service lines of business. The session attendees took full advantage of the opportunity to tour the The day wrapped up with guided tours of ences working for PCSI on its Tinker Air booths and interact with the CRPs. It was local CRPs for interested attendees. This Force Base and his promotion to quality a great way to expose individuals to the was a great opportunity for people to see assurance manager. Many individuals diversity of the AbilityOne CRP network firsthand individuals with disabilities at commented on Short’s speech as it truly and highlight the abilities of people with work. Goodwill Easter Seals of the Miami displayed the success and purpose of the disabilities. Kimberly Zeich, deputy Valley, TAC Industries, Greene, Inc. and AbilityOne Program to provide products executive director of the U.S. AbilityOne Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Commission™, provided a general overview and services for Federal customers while Visually Impaired all hosted tours at their building integrity for veterans and others of the AbilityOne Program and how facilities. This inaugural event has paved the with significant disabilities through government personnel can benefit from way for future collaboration and partnering employment opportunities. working with CRPs in the program. activities.
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Challenge Enterprises Hosts Group of Inventors
hallenge Enterprises of North Florida Inc. recently hosted a meeting of the North Florida Inventors and Innovators Group. Formed in 2010 and chaired by Bob Hawkinson, vice president of TLC Inc., the group’s membership has grown to more than 70 entrepreneurs, inventors and engineers who meet monthly to exchange ideas and develop new product solutions ranging from marketing to production.
“Challenge Enterprises of North Florida implemented an extraordinarily creative idea by inviting a group of inventors to their facility,” said Dana Ferguson, senior team manager for NISH Products in the NISH South Region and key speaker at the event. Attendees of this out-of-the-box meeting learned about the CRP’s capabilities and core competencies, as well as about each other’s needs. The group also was interested in learning about the AbilityOne® Program and how it works. As expected, the inventors group presented itself as an enormous opportunity for new commercial manufacturing jobs. The number of products this group had patented and were ready to put on the market was remarkable. “You could feel the energy in the warehouse with this dynamic group of visionaries,” said Nancy Keating, CEO of Challenge Enterprises of North Florida. Many members had been pursuing the production of their products for many years, and some products were already in the marketplace and needing additional assistance in manufacturing. Hawkinson, the group’s founder, stated, “The fact that Challenge Enterprises is willing to work with people and go through the bumps in the road to get to where they are going is a strong suit.” “A lot of people have ideas but don’t know what to do with them,” Hawkinson added, “and that’s what this group is about.” Based in Jacksonville, Fla., North Florida Inventors and Innovators Group meets once a month, taking tours of other plants and bringing in guest speakers to give more insight to their members. Entrepreneurs come together to find connections, share resources and exchange ideas. “This group was able to see firsthand the capabilities of Challenge Enterprises and make initial determinations on how they could partner to manufacture, assemble or package their products. Reaction to the event has been very positive, and it appears that many people with significant disabilities may soon have additional opportunities for employment as these ideas turn into projects,” said Ferguson.
Katie Vineyard, COO of Challenge Enterprises, gives a tour for the North Florida Inventors and Innovators group of Challenge Enterprises’ manufacturing project for BAE Systems.
Since the initial meeting and tour, formal meetings have taken place with Solutions Unlimited, Aero-Fast Bicycle Company, Bull Gator Archeology Equipment and Weed Recede to potentially springboard into production projects. “This was a great opportunity for the private business community to partner with a NISH organization,” said Doug Conkey, chairman of the board of County Commissioners for Clay County. “The ultimate goal is to make dreams come true as NISH helps provide opportunities through organizations like Challenge Enterprises to get innovative products into the Federal marketplace. The biggest highlight of the day is that this process provides enhanced opportunities for a workforce with disabilities to get meaningful employment. This is truly a win-win situation.” If your agency would like more information about how to reach your local Inventors Group, contact United Inventors Association of USA or visit the organization’s website at www.uiausa.org.
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QWE Scoop A Quarterly Message
NISH Modifies Criteria for Annual CRP Certificate of Achievement NISH modified the criteria for the annual CRP Certificate of Achievement to Jan Williams, QWE Director include participation in the Employee Research System (ERS) and the Quality Work Environment (QWE) initiative. This change is already in effect and will impact the certificates issued this fall. A summary of the Certificate, the ERS and QWE initiatives, and supports available to begin participation will be addressed in this article. The Certificate of Achievement is a way for NISH to recognize CRP excellence in performance. Bob Chamberlin, NISH president and CEO, personally signs each Certificate of Achievement and he feels strongly that the Certificate of Achievement reflects a sign of excellence and remains relevant to the current environment and reflective of the most significant developments in the AbilityOne® arena. The additional requirements for participation in ERS and QWE are indicative of the importance of those two initiatives and of the forward thinking of CRPs that are going above and beyond to truly demonstrate excellence in their operations. ERS is a database where CRPs submit employee level payroll data. It has already provided valuable information that was not available prior to its formation. Before ERS, NISH relied on anecdotal data, but now there is statistically significant data about AbilityOne employees to support those anecdotes. Having accurate
information is critical to educate the public and Members of Congress on the benefits and scope of the program. QWE is an initiative created by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission™ (The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled operates as the U.S. AbilityOne Commission) and one that NISH wholeheartedly supports. By implementing QWE, a CRP takes an extra step to systematically approach the issues surrounding employees in the AbilityOne Program. QWE is simply a goal setting process and CRPs decide what goals they want to implement. Before October 2011, the Certificate of Achievement was based on agency ratio, satisfactory performance, on-time deliveries, timely submission of the Quarterly Employment Report and annual form 404 report, and timely payment of commissions. CRPs now have to also meet the criteria for ERS and QWE participation. To meet the ERS criterion, CRPs must be signed up to participate and submit data for at least two quarters during the fiscal year. This requirement applies to CRPs with greater than 50 AbilityOne employees performing direct labor. To meet the QWE criterion, CRPs must be signed up to implement the initiative, have completed their self-assessment and submitted a Strategic Action Plan. This requirement applies to CRPs with greater than 25 AbilityOne employees performing direct labor.
QWE Scoop continues on page 18
CRP Connection • NATIONAL • Fall 2012 • 17
National Connection QWE Scoop continued from page 17
Information about ERS and QWE has been shared in a variety of formats including in-person trainings, the ERS data workgroup, webinars, the NISH annual conference, and the regional NCWC conferences, to name a few. In light of the changes to the Certificate of Achievement, a joint ERS and QWE “traveling roadshow” will be done at locations across the country so the information about how to participate will be brought “to a neighborhood near you.” These sessions will be more than presentations;
Sizzlin’ CRPs The following CRPs recently completed their QWE self-assessment: Asian Rehabilitation Services, Inc. Los Angeles, Calif.
Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, Inc. New York, N.Y.
ASPIRO, Inc. Green Bay, Wis.
Foothill Vocational Opportunities Pasadena, Calif.
Bridges BTC, Inc. Rockledge, Fla. Challenge Enterprises of North Florida, Inc. Green Cove Springs, Fla. Coastal Enterprises of Jacksonville, Inc. Jacksonville, N.C. DART Ridgecrest, Calif. Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries Washington, D.C.
Garten Services, Inc. Salem, Ore. Goodwill Community Services, Inc. Phoenix, Ariz. Goodwill Industries of Kentucky Louisville, Ky. Goodwill Industries of South Florida, Inc. Miami, Fla. Goodwill Industries of South Texas Corpus Christi, Texas
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Goodwill Industries of Southern California Panorama City, Calif.
CRPs will be able to talk to other CRPs that participate in ERS and QWE. The traveling roadshow is in development. Once identified, dates and locations will be posted to the Institute for Economic Empowerment’s website. For more information on ERS and QWE, visit www.instituteforempowerment.org.
Lincoln Training Center South El Monte, Calif.
Seneca-Cayuga Arc Waterloo, N.Y.
MacDonald Training Center, Inc. Tampa, Fla.
Shasta County Opportunity Center Redding, Calif.
Navigations, Inc. Battle Creek, Mich.
Skils’kin Spokane, Wash.
Northwest Center Seattle, Wash.
Skookum Bremerton, Wash.
On Our Own Services, Inc. Houston, Texas
STEPS Farmville, Va.
Helena Industries Helena, Mont.
Peninsula Services Bremerton, Wash.
SVRC Industries, Inc. Saginaw, Mich.
J.P. Industries, Inc. Tucson, Ariz.
Pueblo Diversified Industries, Inc. Pueblo, Colo.
Tehama County Opportunity Center, Inc. Red Bluff, Calif.
Lake Region Corp. Devils Lake, N.D.
Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc. Fredericksburg, Va.
The Arc of Hilo Hilo, Hawaii
LifeROOTS Albuquerque, N.M.
Rauch New Albany, Ind.
Lillie Rice Center, Inc. Walla Walla, Wash.
San Diego Outsourcing Systems, Inc. San Diego, Calif.
Goodwill Specialty Services, Inc. Omaha, Neb. Great Plains Enterprises, Inc. Las Vegas, Nev. Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, Inc. West Palm Beach, Fla.
Ka Lima O Maui Wailuku, Hawaii
Thomas-Grady Service Center Thomasville, Ga. UCP of Central Arkansas Little Rock, Ark. VGS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
Chesapeake Center Increases Productivity By Leslie Orndoff, www.eastonsavvy.com Article reprinted with permission from www.eastonsavvy.com.
young woman sits down with an effusive smile. She looks slightly reluctant to begin her story, yet when she does, her smile remains bright and her confidence seems to build. “I started working at Chesapeake Center in 1996,” she begins. “I lived in the Chesapeake Center apartments and worked at Cadmus.” It wasn’t long before she met her husband, fell in love and had a baby. Her story sounds typical, even unextra– ordinary, but for the fact that she has a disability.
She struggles with both bi-polar disorder and a learning disability, which resulted in poor work performance and attendance. After the gentle encouragement and reassurance of the staff at Chesapeake Center, she has made tremendous strides in both her confidence and desire to achieve. She now attends work regularly, is on the way to owning her own home, has gotten her driver’s license and is working toward getting her GED. Hers is an inspirational story, which perhaps would have turned out differently if it weren’t for the work of this nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of people with disabilities. Chesapeake Center is a complex of buildings that sit quiet and unassuming on Dover Street. Cars drive quickly past, occupants unaware of the large-scale operations taking place inside and the magnitude of its impact on the community. Since 1966, its main focus has been to assist individuals with disabilities reach independence through providing opportunities in employment, housing and community activities, among others. “Similar to other nonprofits, [Chesapeake Center] began when a group of concerned parents, whose children with disabilities had graduated high school, got together,” says President and CEO Donna Harrison. “At that time, people with disabilities couldn’t stay in school until they were 21, so the parents approached local store owners to see if they would be willing to offer employment.” Rowen’s Stationary was one of the first businesses to allow a small group of young adults to work, breaking down boxes and taking out the trash.
This arrangement came to the attention of Mrs. Alton Brown, a local philanthropist. “She was intrigued by the families,” continues Harrison. “She purchased the property on Dover Road, and they started approaching local businesses to see if things could be brought to the Center.” The group offered chair caning, started a toy business and did whatever odd jobs came their way. As the years passed, the state of Maryland began to fund organizations like Chesapeake Center. The support provides funds to hire staff and run vans throughout the county to pick up people and bring them to work. “We pick up people as far away as Tilghman and the borders of neighboring counties,” says Harrison. “We receive funds from Caroline and Dorchester, so we pick up people there as well.” Currently, the Center serves approximately 200 adults with various disabilities. They work at any number of tasks including: stuffing toys in bubbles for vending machines; breaking down and recycling computer hard drives; stuffing envelopes for bulk mailers; constructing crab mallets, disposable emergency stretchers called dispo-a-boards and canes with a specialized footprint. A food service area provides two meals and a snack for Center employees and sells baked goods throughout the community. Chesapeake Center manages three recycling sites throughout Talbot County and sells the aluminum cans collected from not only its property, but also from the adjacent site. “Nothing is wasted here,” says Vocational Director Lisa Korell. “We have an outlet for everything.” One of the largest ongoing jobs is a U.S. Navy contract, cutting and sewing special cleaning cloths. The sound of the room in which the cleaning cloths are made is a noisy symphony of sewing machines and specialized cutting equipment. Here a large workforce cuts, sews, trims and inspects cloths destined for Navy subs and ships all over the world. “In the 10 years I’ve worked as vocational director, we’ve only had one quality control issue,” says Korell. It is a source of pride as well as a testament to the facility itself. Given the opportunity, people with disabilities flourish and are as productive, if not more than, their counterparts without disabilities. Chesapeake Center continues on page 20 CRP Connection • NATIONAL • Fall 2012 • 19
National Connection Chesapeake Center continued from page 19
“The Chesapeake Center feels like a family environment,” says the young woman with bi-polar disorder. Her life’s course was changed because of the nonprofit staff’s efforts. Had it not been for that family style support and gentle pressure to push herself to achieve, her story—along with the stories of many others—would have had less than a happy ending.
© 2012 Lockheed Martin Corporation
There are some who come to Chesapeake Center not to work, but to learn valuable life skills and make friends through the Day Habilitation Program. “Some people don’t want to work a full day, and that’s fine,” continues Korell. “They’ll work a half day then come and relax or do a craft.” Others may spend the entire day there, staying occupied, engaged, earning a sense of accomplishment. Often times those who start in the Day Habilitation Program move on to work in the facility.
Chesapeake Center not only employs people on site, but also works to place people in the community. “When we approach potential employers,” says Korell, “we like to focus on what they can do, not what they can’t.” Currently, five people from the Center are placed in jobs throughout the community.
THERE ARE NO LIMITS TO
ACHIEVEMENT At Lockheed Martin, we take on some of the most complex challenges imaginable. So we depend on a diverse supplier base to provide the widest range of abilities and perspectives. The AbilityOne∏ Program gives us access to a wealth of talent, and helps us deliver innovative solutions to our customers. www.lockheedmartin.com
20 • Fall 2012 • NATIONAL • CRP Connection
Job Squad and Christopher O’Dell: Succeeding with the Ticket to Work Program
hen Christopher O’Dell finished high school in rural West Virginia, he looked forward to gaining independence and having a job of his own. But, he was also apprehensive about an unknown future. O’Dell worried that with a disability, a special education certificate and little work experience, his employment prospects would be limited. Still, depending on a Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check left few choices, and a need for purposeful employment ultimately led him to pursue work in spite of these concerns. “I got tired quickly of sitting at home, and even though I was nervous at first, I decided to [find help],” he says.
Courage A transition specialist at school referred O’Dell to Job Squad, an AbilityOne-producing nonprofit and provider of employment opportunities and support services for job-seekers with disabilities. When considering employment, it is important for anyone
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who receives Social Security disability benefits to consult an expert and learn how work can affect these benefits. With help from his family and a benefits counselor at Job Squad, O’Dell explored his opportunities. He learned that rules called Work Incentives make it easier for adults with disabilities to enhance their job skills through education, training and work experience, while receiving healthcare and cash benefits from Social Security. A combination of Work Learn about Work Incentives Incentives may allow O’Dell in the Social to continue receiving all or part Security Red of his SSI check while working. Book, the official guide to Work Some of these Work Incentives, Incentives. known as “Special SSI Payments for Persons Who Work,” the “Earned Income Exclusion,” “Property Essential to Self-Support,” and “Impairment Related Work Expenses” can help him receive Job Squad continues on page 24
Job Squad continued from page 22
some cash payments from Social Security while he tests his ability to work. In addition, Medicaid coverage can continue even if his income is too high to receive SSI cash benefits. Finally, O’Dell learned that if he stops working because of his disability within five years, Social Security may be able to start his benefits again without a new application. Because each person’s circumstances are different, it is important to understand which rules apply to your employees and what these rules will mean for benefits when working. Work Incentives supported O’Dell as he built confidence, and helped give him the courage he needed to pursue long-term employment.
Teamwork O’Dell’s counselor also told him he would be a good candidate for Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program. The Ticket Program is voluntary and exists specifically to help people with disabilities progress toward financial self-sufficiency. It is a good fit for those who would like to improve their earning potential and who are committed to preparing for long-term success in the workforce. Social Security disability beneficiaries 18 through 64 qualify. With the help of state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and specialized providers known as Employment Networks (ENs), the Ticket Program offers people with disabilities improved access to meaningful employment. Job Squad is one of over 1,000 ENs, including a number of AbilityOne® Network members, that offer a range of free employment support services, including rehabilitation, career and benefits counseling, resume writing, interview skills workshops, referral to vocational training or continuing education, job placement services, job-coaching and other types of ongoing employment supports. An EN can offer one or many of these services, and different ENs may specialize in serving select populations. Program participants may speak with several providers before finding a good match, and can choose any EN that meets their needs. As a nationally recognized leader in customized and supported employment, Job Squad was well equipped to meet O’Dell’s needs. Job Squad worked with O’Dell and his family to develop an Individual Work Plan, a roadmap to help him meet his employment goals. After assessing his skills and training potential, Job Squad placed O’Dell in a job as custodian for the Federal Bureau of Investigation
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(FBI) Criminal Justice Information System in 2008. In the early weeks of his job, O’Dell had a difficult time adjusting. He described it as “really hard work, until you get used to it.” But, Job Squad worked with him until he was comfortable in his duties and he now enjoys his routine. Individualized training, a job coach and other supports helped him become confident in his ability to succeed at work.
Promise O’Dell is conscientious in performing his five weekly shifts from 3 p.m. to midnight, and is excited about his work. According to Travis Klein, director of Human Resources at Job Squad, O’Dell often volunteered for the challenging midnight shift, and has grown as a team player. “He takes a lead in orienting new employees and strives to promote teamwork with his crew at the FBI building,” he says. FBI employees enjoy having Job Squad employees like O’Dell on site. They contribute to a positive morale, and Travis hopes that contract expansion opportunities will soon allow Job Squad to promote O’Dell into a supervisory position.
Pride O’Dell has seen tremendous improvements in his life since he decided to participate in the Ticket to Work Program. At 26, he is now a devoted father with a family of his own; proud of what his independence has allowed him to achieve. He has been selfsufficient for four years, and feels free of the limitations imposed by relying on SSI. As O’Dell talks about fishing with his son, spending time with friends and co-workers, purchasing an all-terrain vehicle, or completing payments on the car, his satisfaction with life after Social Security is clear. He looks forward to a better future for himself and his family with confidence. O’Dell is glad he decided to participate in the Ticket Program, suggesting other young people should take a chance on their future and “…go for it!” Ticket to Work and Work Incentives helped O’Dell find his path to self-sufficiency. To learn more about using Ticket to Work at your nonprofit, visit www. socialsecurity.gov/work or call the Ticket Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 866-833-2967 (TTY/TDD).
Revised 404 Information Collection Form Expected for Fourth Quarter FY12 As mentioned in an earlier NISH Public Policy Update and in keeping with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the U.S. AbilityOne Commission™ submitted a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to add three new questions to the 404 data collection form and revise the certification signature block. The information will enable the Commission to accurately measure veteran participation in the AbilityOne® Program. The complete proposed form can be found on the NISH Extranet. The new questions are 6E, 7H and 7I. The CRP signature block revision clarifies that the form is subject to the False Claims Act. NISH plans to update the QER with these revisions. NISH is coordinating the requisite information technology updates with NIB and the Commission to include the additional fields/questions. Pending final approval by OMB, these revisions will go into effect Sept. 30, 2012 for FY12 data collection. Questions? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 Call for Nominations will open in September.
Don’t miss out! The first 50 CRPs to nominate will receive a $200 training voucher. www.nish.org/awards
ceSS c u S All ted n A W eS Stori
CRP Connection • NATIONAL • Fall 2012 • 25
8401 Old Courthouse Road • Vienna, VA 22182
CRP Connection is published quarterly by the NISH Corporate Communications Department. To submit questions, comments or story ideas, please e-mail email@example.com or call (571) 226-4660. To request additional copies of CRP Connection, or to add or remove your name from the CRP Connection mailing list, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (571) 226-4660.
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