(CNN)"SourceAmerica is proud to help create employment opportunities for tens of thousands of individuals with significant disabilities every year. Every day we see how these jobs change the lives of the individuals we serve, and we are committed to continuing to build and expand these opportunities with the work we do.
Statement from SourceAmerica to CNN
SourceAmerica supports more than 115,000 jobs for persons with disabilities, including more than 40,000 people through the AbilityOne Program, making our organization the single largest source of employment for people with significant disabilities in the United States. We achieve this by providing a variety of services to the 1,000 plus nonprofits in our network. We operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, complying with the requirements of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act and the rules and regulations set by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission.
SourceAmerica conducts its business with the utmost integrity and complies with all federal and state requirements, including those related to the administration of the AbilityOne Program. The allegations being made against SourceAmerica are simply without merit. SourceAmerica is vigorously defending itself against these unfounded allegations, many of which are related to ongoing litigation brought forth by a very small number of individuals, and we anticipate a favorable resolution of these lawsuits.
Project recommendations to the AbilityOne Commission from SourceAmerica are based solely on merit. There are a number of checks and balances to ensure AbilityOne bids are fairly and equitably evaluated, and the final decision on every federal AbilityOne contract is made by the Presidentially-appointed members of the Commission. No one involved in making award recommendations to the Commission is employed by an organization seeking those contracts. We want to be very clear, SourceAmerica Board Members are not involved in the evaluation of contract bids or recommendations to the AbilityOne Commission.
Under Federal regulations and AbilityOne Commission policies, SourceAmerica has no investigatory or enforcement authority over nonprofit agencies awarded AbilityOne contracts. The nonprofit agencies are independent 501(c)(3) organizations with their own Boards of Directors, and operate separately from SourceAmerica. As part of our support to our network agencies, SourceAmerica provides targeted training and technical guidance, and addresses performance issues including compliance concerns that may arise. On average, SourceAmerica staff annually visits nearly 200 of the roughly 500 nonprofit agencies with active AbilityOne contracts to provide training and technical guidance to ensure that every organization with an AbilityOne contract receives the necessary amount of support to meet their contractual requirements. As such, every nonprofit agency with an AbilityOne contract receives an on-site visit at least once every three years, with more frequent visits depending on individual circumstances. SourceAmerica staff does not determine compliance; only the U.S. AbilityOne Commission is authorized to do so.
As reported in the U.S. AbilityOne Commission FY 2014 Annual Report, more than 95 percent of the nonprofit agencies participating in the AbilityOne Program met the statutory requirement that their overall direct labor ratio of individuals who are blind or who have significant disabilities exceed 75 percent. In instances where compliance concerns exist, SourceAmerica notifies the U.S. AbilityOne Commission, which has legal oversight authority and responsibility for enforcing Program requirements. The Commission performs the inherently governmental function of conducting reviews to audit compliance with Program regulations and policies. Agencies out of compliance can be required to testify before the U.S. AbilityOne Commission in open public meetings. Agencies that continue to be out of compliance are subject to disciplinary actions, including process improvement plans, removal of individual contracts and ultimately removal from the AbilityOne Program.
SourceAmerica supports oversight of agencies participating in the AbilityOne Program, and has called upon Congress to provide additional funding to the AbilityOne Commission for this purpose.
SourceAmerica is aware of only one instance where a nonprofit agency was found to have falsified records. In that situation, SourceAmerica took immediate action to request that agency's removal from the Program. SourceAmerica places a high value on integrity and has zero tolerance for any actions that undermine our ability to create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
While we are proud of the work we do, we recognize that there is always room for improvement in any organization. Since joining SourceAmerica in January 2015, CEO Steve Soroka and his leadership team continue to develop and enhance policies and procedures to ensure that our organization continues to successfully create and grow employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities, as we have successfully done for nearly 45 years. This effort is ongoing, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners in government, the nonprofit community, and individuals with significant disabilities across the country to achieve our mission."