People-Powered Business Solutions Create a “Win-Win” for All
When a federal agency in Chicago needed assistance to accomplish an important 2022 goal, an AbilityOne® authorized provider employing people with disabilities supported them with its decision to move forward with a cost-effective and time-saving business solution.
Through an AbilityOne Program contract, JCFS Chicago is helping this agency go paperless by the end of this calendar year. It’s a big job tackled by a JCFS team of five people. There are many records that must be moved to and retained at a federal records center approximately 13 miles from the agency’s Chicago office. The small but mighty JCFS team travels to different floors within the building where the federal agency is located — loading and unloading about 50 boxes per trip, two to three times a month. The crew includes two people to help gather and load the boxes, a driver, a driver’s assistant, and a vocational trainer. Each trip to the federal records center takes about three hours, and the crew is typically given a week’s notice to prepare. The JCFS team has moved over 1,000 file boxes so far, and the job isn’t over yet.
Mirek Sokalski, a vocational trainer from JCFS, is supervising JCFS personnel. Sokalski works with each crew member to help build their self-confidence, creating a sense of pride in their work.
“The crew is very reliable and very hard-working, and they’re also very focused on completing their tasks,” says Sokalski, who has worked with this crew on a variety of jobs since 2016. “As a vocational trainer, I consider each crew member’s personality and the difficulties they are facing. They can come to work, build trust, and see that it’s okay to be treated with respect. Here they’re appreciated for who they are and their work. My main purpose is to help build their confidence, self-respect, and dignity.”
JCFS is a nonprofit social service agency that serves the Chicago area and was also one of Chicago's first AbilityOne Program participants. AbilityOne is one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Having AbilityOne Program contracts – like the administrative support service, which includes file transfer work for a federal agency - enables JCFS to provide meaningful employment opportunities to people with disabilities. This creates a “win-win” opportunity for everyone involved. JCFS provides reliable office support services for a federal agency, while a federal agency can support the ongoing employment opportunities for people with disabilities through the AbilityOne Program.
In addition to the federal records transfer crew, other JCFS employees work in other roles through the AbilityOne Program, serving as mail clerks, warehouse staff, copy center support, conference center support, and general labor.
To learn more about SourceAmerica® and the services that our network of AbilityOne authorized providers has to offer, email CustomerService@SourceAmerica.org.