Manassas, VA (11/01/2022) – Yesterday, as the nation concluded its annual observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Didlake and SourceAmerica presented Rep. David Trone, D-Md., with the AbilityOne Congressional Champion Award. The award honors Trone for his commitment to constituents with disabilities and support of the AbilityOne® Program, which provides employment opportunities through federal contracts for nearly 40,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities.
Didlake Inc. of Manassas is a nonprofit rehabilitation services organization and a leading employer of people with disabilities. Didlake participates in the AbilityOne Program as a SourceAmerica®-affiliated nonprofit agency, providing business service solutions for federal customers and employing 750 people with significant disabilities across 40 contracts. SourceAmerica is a central nonprofit agency that helps administer the program.
“We are proud to honor Representative Trone for his efforts to promote an inclusive workforce. It is fitting that the award presentation took place on the last day of NDEAM, which celebrates the contributions of people with disabilities to the workforce and raises awareness of disability employment issues. People with disabilities represent a largely untapped labor pool, with only about 35 percent of working age individuals with disabilities participating in the workforce. Through the AbilityOne Program and our other employment initiatives, we aim to empower people with disabilities to live more fulfilling lives. Support from elected leaders like Representative Trone is critical to our success,” said Didlake Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Rachel Payne.
AbilityOne Congressional Champions are elected policymakers who have demonstrated support of the AbilityOne Program and associated nonprofit agencies in their district or state through congressional actions. They support the enhancement of opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Trone joins 160 other Members of the House and Senate who have been named AbilityOne Congressional Champions.
“Since 1938, AbilityOne has been an instrumental force in providing accessible employment for Americans with disabilities. I’m honored to receive its Congressional Champion Award,” said Congressman Trone. “During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and every month, I remain committed to ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and take pride in their work.”
The presentation took place in Trone’s Gaithersburg, Md. office. Trone’s Director of Outreach Sarah Roth joined him for the presentation. Payne and Didlake COO Joe Diaz represented Didlake along with Board Member Steve Soroka, a Maryland native. Manager of Congressional Relations Victoria Middleton from SourceAmerica joined the Didlake team to present the award.
On Aug. 31, Trone visited Didlake’s AbilityOne contract site at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md., which is located in the district represented by Trone, Maryland’s 6th District. The contract employs 69 individuals, 82 percent of whom have a disability, who perform custodial services for 26 buildings totaling 1.6 million sq. ft. Visiting the contract site was one of the requirements to be nominated as an AbilityOne Congressional Champion. Other criteria included visiting with Didlake representatives at his district office, touring one of Didlake’s AbilityOne contract sites, utilizing AbilityOne products in his office and making a public statement of support for the AbilityOne Program.
“We are very glad that Rep. David Trone has become an AbilityOne Congressional Champion. Congressional support of the AbilityOne Program is essential to ensure the creation of jobs and social and economic inclusion for people with disabilities. The nation’s workforce is more successful when people with disabilities participate,” noted Ricardo Terrazas Vice President of Government Affairs at SourceAmerica.
Didlake is a nonprofit rehabilitative services organization headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. Through its Day Support, Employment Services, and Workforce Support and Development programs, Didlake serves over 2,000 people with disabilities annually throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Didlake is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF, is CIMS-GB-certified, and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne® Program.