Manassas, VA (09/01/22) – Rep. David Trone, D-Md., visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md. yesterday to meet with employees of Didlake, a nonprofit rehabilitation services organization that connects people with disabilities to employment and community engagement opportunities. Didlake provides custodial services through the federal AbilityOne® Program at NIST, 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.
“Every person deserves to take pride in their work, and Didlake is no exception in delivering accessible, rewarding careers through the AbilityOne Program. This valuable program at NIST ensures full wages and benefits for employees with disabilities serving our federal government,” said Congressman Trone. “In Congress, I’m committed to ensuring meaningful employment opportunity for all, and I’m honored to be a partner in this effort alongside the Didlake, NIST, and SourceAmerica teams.”
Rachel Payne, Didlake’s Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, gave welcome remarks and provided an overview of Didlake and AbilityOne Program. Tammy Washington, Operations Manager, and Winston Mercurius, Project Manager, Didlake, shared details about the contract at NIST and its growth since its 2004 inception. Trone and his Director of Outreach, Sarah Roth, also met with representatives of SourceAmerica, a central nonprofit agency that helps administer the AbilityOne Program, and NIST. After learning more about the contract, Trone toured the facility and met with Didlake’s employees with disabilities who work at NIST.
“Didlake is honored Congressman Trone visited NIST, one of the many AbilityOne Program contract sites, to see firsthand the impact of employment in the lives of people with disabilities,” said Payne. “He heard from several employees about their career journeys starting out as janitors and moving into supervisory roles. He also heard about the positive impact on our employees’ personal lives; for example, an employee who was able to move into his own apartment and live independently. We are so thankful for the visit and his commitment to promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
Didlake Inc. 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.