Amazon Business, known for providing B2B buyers with a B2C-like buying experience, is now out to make it easier for government procurement agents to purchase the office supplies and other items they need from suppliers known for employing people who are blind or have other severe disabilities.
Working with the National Industries for the Blind, or NIB, an employment resource for blind people, Amazon Business developed a dedicated AbilityOne storefront on its B2B marketplace, where buyers can browse or search among products from suppliers and delivery services known as complying with the federal AbilityOne program’s standards for employing people with disabilities.
Products sold on the storefront range from writing instruments and janitorial supplies to hard hats, including products carrying the AbilityOne and Skilcraft brands. NIB owns and licenses Skilcraft.
The AbilityOne Network manufactures the Skilcraft brand of products, encompassing a line of more than 3,000 items. They include:
- Office supplies
- Medical supplies
- Bedding supplies
$3.9 billion in online purchases
AbilityOne notes that, in 2022, government agencies purchased $3.9 billion worth of products through its program. First authorized as a federal program in 1938, AbilityOne was expanded under the 1971 Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act as a mandatory source of supply of products to federal agencies.
In addition to Amazon Business, ecommerce sites featuring AbilityOne and Skilcraft products include Amazon.com, GSAAdvantage.gov, Grainger.com and Walmart.com. The AbilityOne section on Amazon Business, however, appears more like a dedicated storefront. It features such services as Amazon’s Guided Buying and account management under JWOD requirements.
“We’re pleased that our government customers can enjoy the convenience of Amazon Business when shopping for Skilcraft and AbilityOne products,” NIB President and CEO Kevin Lynch says in an Amazon Business-issued statement. “We look forward to a productive collaboration with Amazon to meet the evolving needs of government and support the employment of Americans who are blind or have significant disabilities.”
The U.S. AbilityOne Commission, an independent federal agency, administers the AbilityOne program. The commission administers the AbilityOne program with help from the NIB and SourceAmerica. SourceAmerica advocates for employment of people with disabilities. In addition, the NIB and SourceAmerica each work with networks of nonprofit agencies to foster employment opportunities.
AbilityOne says it employs more than 36,000 people who are blind or have other severe disabilities, including more than 25,000 veterans.
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