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Shaw celebrates AbilityOne workers in 23rd Annual Picnic

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin Stanley
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The sound of mingling conversations mixes with the roar of the F-16s flying overhead as the AbilityOne picnic begins with opening remarks. For over 20 years, Shaw has highlighted the continued hard work of civilian workers employed through the AbilityOne program. 

Shaw celebrated its 23rd Annual AbilityOne picnic at Memorial Lake Oct. 21. This celebration provided the opportunity for key personnel on base to acknowledge the dedication and continued mission support provided by the AbilityOne program. 

AbilityOne provides employment opportunities to over 40,000 Americans with mental and physical disabilities, along with over 2,500 veterans. From stocking shelves at the commissary to custodial management and groundskeeping, the AbilityOne program employs over 150 dedicated workers at Shaw to support the 20th Fighter Wing.

“It is important to celebrate the AbilityOne workers because they are supporting our mission,” said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Lincoln Parr, 20th Contracting Squadron (CONS) acquisition flight officer. “They are supporting the workers here, who, in turn, are putting hours in to support those downrange.” 

The AbilityOne picnic is held annually during October, which is traditionally honored as National Disability Awareness Month. AbilityOne partners with SourceAmerica and CW Resources to provide impactful careers to those with mental and physical disabilities at over 1,000 locations nationwide. 

“I think it’s extremely helpful for us to take the burden of planning off of the companies and facilitate the picnic as a whole,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kevin Sweet, 20th CONS commander. “The companies are then able to focus on the good things their employees are doing and to highlight the specific categories where certain individuals have excelled.”

Each company at the AbilityOne picnic presented their own awards to the workers showcasing their specific skills and improvements. Throughout the picnic, awards such as: “Most Improved”, “Most Dedicated”, and “Most Reliable” were given to the workers who best exhibited those qualities.  No matter the job they are assigned, each AbilityOne employee brings a sense of pride and dedication to serve and contribute to the 20th FW mission. 

SourceAmerica partners with AbilityOne to find contracts for workers in areas such as grounds maintenance, healthcare services, custodial services, and food services. These contracts allow Shaw to work directly with SourceAmerica to avoid having to outsource contracting companies using the bidding process. This partnership has saved Shaw almost $600,000 in contracting services and fees.

By working directly with SourceAmerica and AbilityOne, Shaw has access to a sustainable workforce, while many Americans have access to jobs they might not otherwise have.

“Ability One gives me the chance to serve with the military again,” said Denzel Colclough, Shaw Official Mail Center mail carrier, when asked to present a speech at the Ability One picnic. “I’ve been working with AbilityOne at Shaw for four years and I’m grateful for the opportunities they have given me.”