Celebrating Disability Employment and Supporting the Troops
By Tatiana Peralta
Every part of a team - from the people on the sidelines watching the game, to the members providing water to the players – is essential to its success. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania there’s an agency that plays an important role in the operations of military teams nationwide.
Get to know the Defense Logistics Agency
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) provides the U.S. military’s partners with food and feeding equipment, clothing and textile items, construction and equipment material, medical material and pharmaceuticals, and industrial hardware repair parts. DLA plays a critical role in testing materials to ensure compliance with military requirements. Items tested at DLA include:
- Military uniforms
- Chemical protective garments
- Flags, including the ones flown at the White House
The agency also plays an important role in the AbilityOne Program through multiple service and product contracts. SourceAmerica takes pride in knowing that every individual contract through this agency is part of a bigger network that supports U.S. military teams worldwide.
Recognizing contributions of professionals with disabilities
Every year DLA hosts AbilityOne Troop Support Day to show its support for employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The day brings together the agency’s employees, SourceAmerica, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and our collective networks to celebrate and raise awareness for this diverse workforce. General Gavin A. Lawrence from the Defense Logistics Agency highlighted the strong partnership between DLA and the AbilityOne Program during his opening remarks at the event when he said, “I’m looking forward to highlighting this year’s success and to continued opportunities for growth and partnership.”
During this year’s event, the SourceAmerica team toured the lab where DLA tests clothing and textiles for the military. On display were all military uniform colors and designs, including each individual component within the uniform. Some of our member nonprofit agencies supply the material for uniforms or other items of clothing; this was a rare opportunity to learn about the process the items go through before being deemed compliant. The elements of a uniform must be consistent every single time. Our tour guide said it best - “These are highly engineered pieces of equipment, not just items of clothing.”
Even though each agency with a DLA contract is unique, the DLA process brings the customer and agencies together to collaborate on the perfect end product. Multiple AbilityOne agencies (listed below) took part in the DLA Troop Support AbilityOne Day.
Working together – now and in the future
DLA is an important customer for the AbilityOne Program and our SourceAmerica member nonprofit agencies. Coming together under one roof for the DLA event is a special opportunity to celebrate our work. It’s also a great chance to share more about this incredibly diverse workforce and the quality products and services they can offer.
No matter where the participating agencies traveled from this year, they all shared one thing in common – pride in supporting our men and women in uniform while, at the same time, providing meaningful employment opportunities for professionals with disabilities.
If you’re interested in learning more or participating in next year’s event, please contact Jill Johnson.
Member agencies in attendance:
Access: Support for Living, Alphapointe, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin Lighthouse: Travis Association for the Blind, Bestwork, BOSMA, CABVI, CDS Life Transitions: Monarch,Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Chimes, Inc, CW Resources, DePaul, Envision, Goodwill Industries of South Florida, IFB Solutions, Industries of the Blind, Inc., LC Industries, LCI Base Supply Store, Lighthouse for the Blind Central Florida, Lighthouse for the Blind: Forth Worth, Louisiana Association for the Blind, National Industries for the Blind, New View Oklahoma, North Central Sight Services, Oswego Industries, Outlook Nebraska, Peckham Vocational Industries, ReadyOne Industries, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, SEKRI, SouceAmerica, South Texas Lightouse,The Abilities Connection, The Resource Center, Tradewinds Rehabilitation Center, Travis, Vision Corp.