Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Programs
336-685-2393 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, we received notice from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs that it is extending the optical contract slated to end on July 31 for two additional weeks with a new end date of August 15. This brief extension gives us additional time to find possible positions within our organization for those 47 affected employees. However, it is not the outcome we had hoped for as we believe the VA should not be taking business away from AbilityOne nonprofits like IFB Solutions who provide life-changing jobs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Every day, our employees go to work wondering when the next contract will end.
IFB Solutions has two remaining contracts with the VA that employ an additional 90 people. Both of those contracts are slated to end this fall, putting a total of 137 people, including 76 who are blind, 15 who are veterans, out of work.
We will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill and in the courts to press for a solution that will enable the VA to maximize contracting awards for veteran-owned small businesses without eliminating or reducing AbilityOne jobs for people who are blind or severely disabled. During our meetings on Capitol Hill last week, we heard from many members of Congress about their intent to communicate with VA Secretary Wilkie that his department cease attempting to take way any current AbilityOne Procurement List contracts from non-profit organizations employing people who are blind or severely disabled as that is not consistent with the intent of Congress. And, in early September, we will file a petition for our case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court as we pursue all available legal and legislative options to get this issue resolved. There is plenty of business with the VA for both veteran-owned small businesses and AbilityOne nonprofits.
We are grateful for the support of the national lawmakers we met with last week in Washington, D.C. who want to see a solution to this issue. We also are grateful for the many people in the community who’ve shared their support for our organization and our employees.