WEST ALLIS, Wis.– It’s one thing to employ people who are blind or visually impaired, but it’s another to advocate for the entire blind community. On “Policy Day” at Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IBVI), they’re doing both.
Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired produces office and janitorial supplies as well as mission critical equipment to the United States government and military through the AbilityOne® program, a federal initiative that mandates a certain percentage of government spending go to organizations that employ people with disabilities. A member of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB), they’re also one of Wisconsin’s largest employers of people who are blind or visually impaired.
They also advocate on the federal level for better support and employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and on “Policy Day”, this Wednesday, they took their concerns to Capitol Hill, virtually.
“We take the opportunity to meet with U.S. senators and representatives very seriously, because we know that our efforts could impact countless lives,” said Alison Fortney, account and e-commerce specialist at IBVI, as well as the lead public policy advocate. “The AbilityOne® program has served us so well for decades, but we believe that by transforming key parts of the program, we can expand our efforts and our impact.”
The issues that IBVI advocates are discussing on Policy Day include eliminating any sub-minimum wages, updating current direct labor ratio requirements, correcting outdated definitions of significant disability, and more. The day included training and discussion internally at IBVI about public policy and the AbilityOne® program, as well as phone calls with U.S. senators and representatives in Washington, D.C.
“With the right tools and training, anyone can succeed in their job,” said CJ Lange, president and CEO of IBVI. “We appreciate the time and conversations with our representatives, as we show them the importance of giving those who are blind or visually impaired the opportunity for employment, and really the opportunity to thrive.”
For more information on Policy Day at IBVI, or the IBVI mission, please visit IBVI.org or reach out to the media contact below.