McConnell's AbilityOne

  • Published
  • By Maj. Amy Harshner
  • 22nd Contracting Squadron commander
In the 22nd Contracting Squadron's operations and oversight of the government purchase card program, we have a responsibility to balance many interests to prudently spend tax payer's dollars.

Our mission is to acquire the right supplies and services that will enable the 22nd Air Refueling Wing to do its mission. In doing so, to the maximum extent possible, we develop acquisition solutions to ensure the best value, development of small businesses and support to the AbilityOne program.

AbilityOne is an evolved program established by Congress in 1938 to enable non-profit agencies serving people who are blind or significantly disabled to sell products and services to the federal government. Seventy-five percent of total direct labor hours must be performed by people who meet these qualifications.

Here at McConnell, we support AbilityOne in many ways. Through the contracting squadron, we are transitioning one of our major service contracts, furnishings management office, to be provided by an AbilityOne contractor. The contractor will soon operate the base FMO and warehouse by maintaining government property inventory, performing storage and handling of furnishings and appliances, and perform dormitory facility maintenance and washer and dryer maintenance.

AbilityOne contractors provide a wide range of services. A current AbilityOne contractor, Envision, is performing the hazmat pharmacy services, by managing timely hazardous waste disposal. Other services performed by AbilityOne contractors at many Air Force installations include administrative and contract management support, custodial, document management, food services, fleet management, grounds maintenance, laundry, mail, supply chain management and warehouse.

For supplies, contracting specialists and GPC holders often make purchases through Envision Xpress, the on-base store which provides office and janitorial supplies, industrial products, clothing, individual equipment and mission specific deployment gear. 

Envision Xpress is one of 16 stores nationwide that employs 96 disabled citizens. Sales revenue returns directly to Envision, which conducts research for cures and prevention and provides occupational rehabilitation and training to the blind and visually impaired, regardless of the person's ability to pay. This enables them to become independent and productive. This is important because ten million people in the United States are blind or visually impaired and more than 70 percent are unemployed. Envision is the nation's second largest employer of this demographic. When you shop at Envision Xpress, you are doing more than supplying your unit. Since June 2011, McConnell has increased from the 10th to the 6th largest volume store in terms of sales for Envision.

At the Envision facility in Wichita, Kan., employees manufacture and prepare trash bags, seal-closure bags, rifle slings, grocery bags, industrial wiping towels and reflective belts to fill civilian and government orders.

For those wondering about quality and pricing, AbilityOne is a proven program that provides quality products and services at commercially fair prices.

The 22nd CONS support to AbilityOne can be important to you too. According to the Centers for Disease Control, blindness and low vision in our nation will double at epidemic proportions, due to factors such as diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness. More than eight percent of the country's population - 18.8 million diagnosed cases and seven million undiagnosed - has diabetes. You or someone you know may be directly benefiting from AbilityOne.

Finally, Mary Shannon, Envision Xpress president , has asked me to sincerely thank the McConnell community for our service and sacrifice to our country and for our continued support to the base store and online orders.