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Barry McVay's FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: April 3, 2000

FROM: Barry McVay, CPCM

SUBJECT: President Urges Agencies to Purchase Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Products and Services

SOURCE: Presidential Memorandum to Heads of Federal Agencies, "Continued Commitment to the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Program," March 29, 2000

SYNOPSIS: President Clinton has issued a memorandum to all heads of federal departments and agencies calling upon them to "take steps to ensure that your agencies' procurement executives, and other employees who acquire supplies for your agency, purchase JWOD program products and services, consistent with existing law."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Purchases under the JWOD program are covered in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 8.7, Acquisition from Nonprofit Agencies Employing People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The JWOD program is a federal initiative that generates employment and training for more than 34,000 people who are blind or who have other significant disabilities. These individuals work in more than 600 nonprofit agencies associated with the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) or with NISH (formerly the "National Industries for the Severely Handicapped," a national nonprofit agency that serves persons with a wide range of disabilities), and furnish a wide variety of supplies and services to the federal government.

"In recent years, the JWOD Program has faced numerous challenges as the federal acquisition system has evolved in ways not envisioned even a decade ago," writes the president. "Today, for example, hundreds of thousands of federal employees buy goods with purchase cards. Electronic commerce is expanding rapidly and commercial firms deliver goods previously stocked and distributed by federal agencies. These and other procurement reforms have created a more direct relationship between commercial vendors and their federal customers. Participants in the JWOD Program are takings steps to adjust to these and other changes in the federal procurement environment, but the transition is a dynamic and far-reaching process that requires strong support from government customers."

Since the unemployment rate for disabled adults is "unacceptably high," President Clinton calls upon the agencies to make sure that those who acquire supplies purchase JWOD products "consistent with existing law." In particular, the president singles out "those entrusted with federal purchase cards to be vigilant in continuing to purchase the reasonably priced products and services (including SKILCRAFT items) supplied through the JWOD Program. In addition, President Clinton points out that "the JWOD Program also provides many recycled content, environmentally preferable, and energy efficient products. The purchase of these items would enable the federal government to continue its leadership of the 'greening of the government' initiative while invigorating the JWOD Program." (EDITOR'S NOTE: Executive Order 13101 of September 14, 1998, Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition, requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate items that are or can be made with recovered materials and to recommend practices that procuring agencies can use to procure them. Some of the items produced under the JWOD program, such as binders and plastic envelopes, have been designated by EPA as products that can be made with recovered materials.)

The president concludes the memorandum by stating that "representatives of the Committee for Purchase From People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled (the federal entity responsible for the JWOD Program), NIB, or NISH will contact your procurement staff in the near future to explore steps that your agency can take to increase support for the JWOD Program at this critical juncture."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Many JWOD items are supplied to the federal government through the General Services Administration (GSA) depot system. However, the widespread use of governmentwide commercial purchase card by agency employees, many of whom are unaware or unfamiliar with legislative mandates involving the JWOD program and programs such as the Federal Prison Industries, have contributed to the dramatic decline in sales from the GSA depots. Following an eight month fight with , GSA has announced that it will close six of the eight depots by April 2001. In the face of this, and to "adjust to these and other changes," JWOD has announced it is opening an Internet site at http://www.jwod.com where government purchasers can acquire JWOD products.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry McVay at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to BarryMcVay@FedGovContracts.com.

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