APSE Receives $350,000 Contract from U.S. AbilityOne Commission


APSE received a $350,000 contract from the U.S. AbilityOne Commission to develop career planning supports that will assist employees with disabilities who work on AbilityOne contracts to grow in their career pathways.

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The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) Receives Contract from U.S. AbilityOne Commission to Develop AbilityOne Program Career Planning Support Resources

Rockville, MD, September 28, 2023 – The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) has received a $350,000 contract from the U.S. AbilityOne Commission to develop and recommend career planning supports for nonprofit agencies participating in the AbilityOne program.

 “This is truly an exciting moment,” Julie Christensen, APSE’s Executive Director, said. “This project will result in expanded opportunities for people with the most significant disabilities to not only obtain good jobs offered within the AbilityOne program, but to increase competitive integrated employment outcomes for people with significant disabilities by creating pathways towards upward and outward mobility that extends beyond AbilityOne.”

In 2022, with the announcement of a new Strategic Plan, the AbilityOne Commission set in motion the beginnings of a robust initiative to modernize the program and position AbilityOne within ongoing advances aimed at addressing the prevailing gap in the labor market participation rate for people with disabilities. “The AbilityOne program was designed to provide paid job training and work for people with the most significant disabilities. Its existence reflects the commitment of the United States government to ensure that people with disabilities have opportunities for employment and pathways to careers leading to economic self-sufficiency,” Christensen noted. “We applaud the Commission in its ongoing efforts to look within and across the program and make bold adjustments that bring the program forward within the context of current disability employment policy and evidence-based practices that advance competitive integrated employment outcomes. This began with last year’s moratorium on the use of 14(c) certificates and payment of subminimum wages to employees working on AbilityOne contracts, an issue that is of particular importance to APSE, and extends to this new scope of work.”

As the only national organization solely dedicated to advancing Employment First – the belief that employment in the general workforce should be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving assistance from publicly funded systems – APSE is uniquely positioned and qualified to lead this engagement. APSE will be partnering with Marc Gold & Associates and Public Consulting Group on this work. “This project presents a unique opportunity to work collaboratively within and outside of the AbilityOne program to enhance supports for the approximately 36,000 employees with disabilities currently working on AbilityOne contracts to achieve their self-directed career goals,” Christensen said. “We have an incredible team assembled and committed to working on this project. It’s a dream team that brings the combined technical expertise necessary to effectively support and advance the ongoing work of the Commission.”  

About APSE: Established in 1988, APSE is the only national organization to focus exclusively on inclusive employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

A growing national non-profit membership organization, our 2000+ members include individuals with disabilities, families, disability support professionals, educators, researchers, and business leaders who are united in a commitment to advancing Employment First. APSE members recognize that everyone has abilities to contribute, and their work should be recognized and rewarded with equal opportunities for fair pay and participation in inclusive workplaces. Employment enriches and adds meaning to every life; and workplaces and communities are enhanced when they embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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