Rep. David Schweikert announced as AbilityOne Congressional Champion

AZ Industries for the Blind presents Rep. David Schweikert with the Congressional AbilityOne Champion Award during a tour of the AIB distribution warehouse facility on Monday. Shown left to right: Dr. Michael Hutt, AIB Board of Directors; David Steinmetz, AIB Public Affairs Manager; Mr. Schweikert; Chairman Greg Kolton, AIB Board of Directors. (Submitted Photo)

Arizona Industries for the Blind welcomed Rep. David Schweikert as the newest AbilityOne Congressional Champion to pledge support of the AbilityOne Program.

The AbilityOne Program is a federal government program that is a sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities, according to a press release.

Mr. Schweikert, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, accepted the award during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 19 at AIB’s Phoenix headquarters. Mr. Schweikert addressed the crowd that included AIB employees and representatives from the AIB Board of Directors.

“These jobs provide so much more than just a paycheck and financial independence — they provide a sense of accomplishment and a sense of purpose,” he said in his remarks.

“The AbilityOne Program enables individuals in our communities to be independent and achieve personal and professional goals. Thank you to all the hard-working men and women that make up this valuable program.”

AIB CEO Richard Monaco described Mr. Schweikert as “a friend and supporter” of the organization.

“He understands the powerful impact that the federal government can have through the AbilityOne Program in changing the lives of people who are blind — one job at a time,” Mr. Monaco said in a prepared statement.

“We’re grateful for his support of job creation for people with disabilities here at home and across the nation.”

Under the AbilityOne Program, AIB employees work on federal contracts such as military supply chain management services for the U.S. Department of Defense and the operation of AbilityOne Base Supply Centers located at each of Arizona’s three military bases.

AIB is one of more than 100 nonprofit agencies associated with National Industries for the Blind, a national employment resource for people who are blind, a release states.

NIB and its associated agencies employ nearly 6,000 people who are blind across the country, including veterans.

“AIB is a leader in creating employment opportunities for people who are blind in the state of Arizona,” NIB President/CEO Kevin Lynch said in a prepared statement.

“We’re thankful for Rep. Schweikert’s tireless support of our mission to enhance the independence of people who are blind through rewarding careers.”

As an AbilityOne Champion, Mr. Schweikert joins the ranks of the 150 current congressional representatives who support the AbilityOne Program to help people who are blind or have significant disabilities find employment by working within a national network of nonprofit agencies that sell products and services to the federal government.

More than 46,000 individuals are employed through the AbilityOne Program and its network of nonprofit agencies like AIB.

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