Arnold Air Force Base Employees Jonathan Murray and Jacob Rinehart

By Tatiana Peralta

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 700,000 people with disabilities in Tennessee are unemployed. This number will only increase if employers don't take action, which makes a new AbilityOne contract at Arnold Air Force Base an important step in the right direction in the state.

The contract with CW Resources is for mail distribution, custodial, ground maintenance and refuse collection. CW Resources is one of 750 nonprofits in the SourceAmerica network. Since work started in December 2019, 30 professionals with disabilities have been supporting the base. Already, base management is looking to add seasonal employees to that list. That’s what we call a success!

Almost all Air Force bases in the United States, including Guam and Puerto Rico, have AbilityOne contracts. In fact, more than 50 Air Force bases across the country operate AbilityOne contracts facilitated by SourceAmerica, employing a total of 3,500 professionals. We're thrilled that Arnold AFB has joined the list through its first AbilityOne contract!

We had the opportunity to catch up with two professionals employed at Arnold Air Force Base - Jonathan Murray and Jacob Rinehart - to talk about their jobs at the base.

Jacob's favorite part of the day (besides lunch!) is seeing how big the base is and knowing he's making a difference by keeping it clean. Jacob's grandfather was in the military, so this is a unique opportunity for him to feel connected to his family history. The support that he receives from CW Resources keeps him on track and if any issues do arise, Jacob knows the staff will work with him.

Jonathan values the chance to be part of a team is something day-in and day-out because the group makes him feel supported. He says one of the most rewarding parts of his job is serving the members of our military since they serve us. The chance to earn a paycheck means that Jonathan can make a good living and support his family. He feels like CW Resources supports him and all the employees. They make him feel like he is a part of something truly special.

CW Resources' Renee Zollinger oversees the employees on the contract and truly understands the importance of her role. She thoroughly enjoys working with the 33 team members at the base. Renee sees how hard they work and how much they accomplish every day because they have the opportunity to work.

With this contract, Arnold AFB is empowering an often-overlooked segment of the population. Professionals with disabilities continue to be an untapped labor force in the United States but they have so much to offer. Through partnerships like this one, we can expand job opportunities for professionals with disabilities and show the incredible value and commitment these employees bring to their jobs.

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