Thirty one of PRIDE Industries’ employees with disabilities will lose their jobs on the eve of National Disability Employment Awareness Month unless the base command at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida reconsiders its decision not to exercise the 4th year of a five-year grounds maintenance contract.
Despite excellent performance ratings, and a Department of Defense directive that in-sourcing initiatives for cost savings should not impact AbilityOne contracts (as this one is), the command there made a decision to end the entire contract – rather than negotiate a cost-reduction compromise.
The timing is an ironic reminder that, all too often, it is individuals with disabilities who are the last hired, and first to go – even those working under the AbilityOne program, a federal initiative with a mission to create employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.
We are frustrated and saddened by the loss of these jobs for people with disabilities. Our dedicated workers at Eglin take extraordinary pride in the maintenance of the Eglin AFB’s grounds and the service this provides to our troops.
While celebrations get under way for National Disability Employment Awareness Month – at Eglin, we are only reminded of the need for PRIDE.