Melwood Commends Abilityone Commission’s Final Rule On 14(C) Certifications
July 22, 2022
AbilityOne contractor and leading employer, advocate and preferred provider for people with disabilities praises program’s step towards pay equity
UPPER MARLBORO, Md., July 21, 2022 – In response to the release of the U.S. AbilityOne Commission’s final rule to end the use of subminimum wage for people with disabilities on AbilityOne contracts, Larysa Kautz, president & CEO of Melwood, a leading national employer, advocate and preferred provider for people with disabilities, issued the following statement:
“The Commission’s decision to end the use of 14(c) certifications on AbilityOne contracts, which allowed for the payment of subminimum wages on AbilityOne contracts is a critical step forward in modernizing the AbilityOne program.
The AbilityOne program has stood as a cornerstone of disability policy in the United States since the 1930s, when its participating nonprofits were the first to employ people with disabilities. Now, 90 years later, offering jobs is not enough. We must ensure all AbilityOne contracts pay equitable wages that promote the independence and financial security of each employee.
Melwood relinquished its 14(c) certificate almost a decade ago, and we have seen first-hand the positive difference doing so made in the lives of our employees.
We are pleased that the Commission has taken this definitive and overdue step to align the program with contemporary disability policy, and we look forward to working with the AbilityOne Commission to continuously find ways to improve disability employment policy and advance the full inclusion of employees with disabilities in our workforce.”
About AbilityOne Program
The AbilityOne program is the largest collective source of employment for people with disabilities in the United States, employing more than 40,000 people with disabilities at more than 1,000 locations representing 40 government agencies and $3.9 billion in products and services to the federal government in the fiscal year 2021. As the cornerstone of federal disability policy, the AbilityOne program includes requirements for hiring people who are blind or have significant disabilities and ensures fair, competitive job opportunities for meaningful employment.
Curley Company for Melwood
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.