As a national leader in creating meaningful job opportunities for people with significant disabilities, SourceAmerica has become a powerful champion of the Inclusion Economy™, which reinforces the economic and social value of all abilities in today's workforce. I am humbled by the great strides we have made in Fiscal Year 2017 to provide greater employment opportunities and choices in the workplace for people with disabilities. By working together, we will make an even greater impact in 2018.
In 2017, SourceAmerica created jobs for thousands of people with disabilities throughout the country. More than 800 nonprofit organizations filled these new roles with capable employees, demonstrating the tremendous skills people with disabilities have to offer. This growing workforce not only developed lifelong career skills and independence, but also provided unique talents and resources to federal and commercial customers across multiple lines of business.
Through our programs, we fostered rewarding relationships with our workforce and with our nonprofit network and customer base, further strengthening our efforts to champion people with disabilities in the workplace. We are also proud to announce that organizations such as Special Olympics International and World Information Technology and Services Alliance that support and share our goals joined us in these efforts in FY17.
Multiple initiatives furthered our mission. Our annual nationwide Design Challenge reached bright young minds as they competed on high school and college teams to craft the best workplace innovations to support people with disabilities. Through our Grassroots Advocacy Conference, we amplified the voices of people with disabilities directly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. And our National Training and Achievement Conference, AbilityOne Academy and National Council of SourceAmerica Employers brought our nonprofit network together for community building and professional development.
SourceAmerica is proving the power and importance of work for people with disabilities every day. Along with our partners and supporters across the country, we continue to drive home the value people with disabilities bring to the workforce and our national economy. We appreciate all of you who contributed to those successes, and through a lens fixed on our potential, we look toward a bright and inclusive future.
The success of this past year and in future years would not be possible without the foundation built by visionary leaders over many decades. Sadly, we lost one of the greatest, Evelyne Villines, in 2017. We dedicate this annual report to her. She was a trailblazing pioneer in the fight for disability rights; her dedication and compassion inspired us all. Evelyne has passed the torch to all of us, and we will carry on her legacy of advocating for more opportunities for people with disabilities.
Steven L. Soroka
Our people-focused mission is at the core of everything we do. We gained momentum in our drive to remove barriers to employment and created 1,100 new jobs for people with disabilities through a variety of means.
SourceAmerica added 261 jobs through the AbilityOne Procurement List, including 63 created through development of a hot weather combat uniform for the U.S. Army. That product's success will lead to more than 200 jobs for people with disabilities in the following fiscal year. Wet weather poncho and first-aid kit production added employment for another 63 people with disabilities on those contracts.
We created 112 jobs for people with disabilities by working with other government contractors to establish new opportunities through contracts, several of which focus on hiring service-disabled veterans.
We created 550 jobs through the growth of existing contracts. More than 100 new custodial jobs were added at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and Fort Benning, Georgia. SourceAmerica added 302 jobs by investing in new lines of business to maximize the potential for employment opportunities. By expanding staffing services and piloting a program for consumer products packaging, we brought on six new national commercial customers.
We also created work by adding new contracts in established areas of expertise. For example, a Base Operations Support contract at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, accounted for 70 new jobs in the contract's first year. Additionally, the organization's first contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency employed 30 people with disabilities.
SourceAmerica reinforced its dedication to quality and value for customers. By measuring the healthcare environmental services provided to the U.S. Army, SourceAmerica found the results were consistently rated excellent. A price-benchmarking study and a partnership with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy ensured custodial rates were within industry standards.
More than 800 member nonprofit agencies share our mission of employing people with disabilities and joined us on a quest to offer more than just a job. Employees found independence and support that extended beyond succeeding in the workplace.
To fuel that mission, SourceAmerica offered training opportunities at our annual national conference and programs throughout the year, focused on topics like contract management. Additionally, nearly 5,000 agency staff received training through SourceAmerica Academy.
We also strengthened our relationships with organizations in our network through engagement and collaboration with the National Council of SourceAmerica Employers. SourceAmerica and the NCSE reinforced their collective focus on employment by developing a new strategy for future growth. Through a collaboration with the NCSE, our network and people with disabilities, SourceAmerica launched the Social Enterprises of the Future initiative, which aims to maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities in a quickly evolving marketplace.
Agencies in SourceAmerica's network see our programs' value; 84 percent of these organizations indicated they were satisfied with SourceAmerica in a recent survey. It's a significant increase in satisfaction over previous years that can be attributed to our organizational realignment and strengthened relationships with the NCSE and the community.
Providing supports for success is how SourceAmerica builds a better workplace today and fosters the next generation of inclusive business leaders.
SourceAmerica offers opportunities for people with disabilities seeking empowerment through work, leveling an uphill climb to ensure workplace success. Employees see results through supports on the job, which strengthens the nonprofit network.
SourceAmerica's team of productivity engineers worked with nonprofit agencies to boost productivity by 30 percent at job sites where they streamlined processes and created efficiencies. Our accessibility and productivity experts engineered solutions for more than 600 people with disabilities and their managers.
In its fifth year, the SourceAmerica Pathways to Careers initiative offered internship and employment opportunities with nearly 200 employers across a diverse range of businesses and industries at four sites in Massachusetts, Michigan, Utah and Virginia. Through paid internships with state-of-the-art employment supports, we offered competitive, integrated employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorder, many of whom transitioned from high school or non-integrated work settings.
Each year, our Design Challenge competition connects high school and college teams with nonprofits and businesses employing people with disabilities. The goal is to create equipment, technology or procedures to improve productivity and safety for people with disabilities at their jobs. Students from Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware, and California State University in Long Beach, California, won their respective divisions with assistive innovations in the 2017 competition.
Advocacy programs provide the skills and opportunities for people with disabilities to express directly what is most important to them. These programs, along with the strong congressional relationships maintained by SourceAmerica and our network, ensure that voices are heard on issues impacting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Every year, SourceAmerica invites member nonprofits to take part in our Grassroots Advocacy Conference. In June, we welcomed employees with disabilities from nearly 50 nonprofits to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators and educate them about issues affecting disability employment. Self-advocates shared their personal stories so legislators could understand the impact their decisions have on the people they represent. Grassroots participants take those skills home to their local communities where they continue to serve as ambassadors to spread the word that hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense.
The combined efforts of SourceAmerica and our network resulted in 16 new AbilityOne Congressional Champions, leaders on Capitol Hill who support maximizing employment opportunities. Our influence didn't end there. Employees of member agencies made informed decisions about policies that they voiced to their congressional leaders using resources and a channel we provided. More than 3,200 self-advocates showed their support for key policy decisions through our platform. Lives have changed as a result.