Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good History For A Change...!

Once in a great while, you find that the government actually did something right.

Some folks might not agree, but I think this is pretty cool myself. Certainly when this many folks are employed, especially handicapped folks, things can only be good! That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.


The pens read "SKILCRAFT-U.S. GOVERNMENT." And if you have worked for an American government institution, you know that they are everywhere. At roughly 50 cents each (if you qualify for government pricing), the pens are the only ones you will see, officially speaking, at most government institutions.

Which makes you different than the people manufacturing the pens themselves. Skilcraft pens are manufactured by blind workers.

In 1938, the United States was still in the midst of the Great Depression. Given that the economy was still incredibly soft, and that blind workers were already at a competitive disadvantage, the government stepped in. Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Wagner-O'Day Act, which aimed at providing upward economic mobility for the blind by requiring that when the federal government purchased specific goods, those goods were manufactured by blind Americans. The law, codified at 41 U.S.C. 46, soon included pens.

The Skilcraft brand came to be a decade or so later, in 1952. Today, the company employs over 5,000 blind workers in 44 states, producing a full arsenal of office supplies, janitorial equipment, etc., with the pens being produced in factories in Wisconsin or North Carolina. As reported by the Washington Post, the pens must be made to the specifications outlined by a sixteen page document which was first promulgated over fifty years ago. Among the requirements? The pens "must be able to write continuously for a mile and in temperatures up to 160 degrees and down to 40 degrees below zero."

In all, the U.S. government orders $5 million worth of these pens a year (with 60% going to the military) -- a small part of the spending under the Wagner-O'Day (now Javitz-Wagner-O'Day) Act. The Act, which was revised in 1971 to include people with "significant disabilities" as eligible for the program, is administered through an organization called AbilityOne, and helps to employ over 40,000 such people. In total, the government spends over $650 million (as recently as 2009) annually on AbilityOne goods and services.


Actually, this is one government program I can stand behind. You might know it was started a long time ago, long before the government backed so many black ops type programs. This was designed to actually help folks and apparently, it does!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Got some "pigs in a blanket" on the side!

11 comments:

toko baju muslim said...


I love your beautiful blog and so enjoy your posts.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Nice to know at least some things are made in the USA! I agree with you that this program is a good one.
Piggies?? Oh my gosh! Save me a big plate full of 'em!

Anonymous said...

That was good news. Disabled Americans need all the help they can get, especially when it is for employing them, vs. just standing there doing nothing.

Yeah, I'm looking at you, Mr. Able bodied but too lazy to work so I'll just collect a check from Uncle Sugar.

linda m said...

That is really great news. Something not only made in the USA but by a disabled person to boot. At least these folks are working for their government check.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Thanks, I never heard that but have seen the pens around when we lived in the city. We only get Chinamart pens out here in the mountains now.

Dizzy-Dick said...

It doesn't happen very often, but now and then the govenment actually comes up with something good.

JOJO said...

Disabled people would rather make their money. It gives them purpose and pride. I love this program and any other that helps disabled Americans.

Great Post this morning my Friend.

HermitJim said...

Hey Toko...
Thank you for your kind words this morning and thanks for coming over today!


Hey Phyllis...
Hard to believe this program has been around for so long and is still going! That's a good thing!

Those piggies are sure good! I love 'em!

Thanks, my friend, for coming over today!


Hey Anon 5:51...
Kinda puts the "do nothing" crowd to shame, doesn't it?

I think it's a great program myself!

Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Linda...
The few blind people I've known all had jobs and were productive folks!

One even worked in the state capitol in Austin! How cool is that?

Many thanks for dropping by today!


Hey Sunnybrook...
It's not often we see something like pens that are made in the U.S.

Wonderful when we find out about something like this.

Thanks so much for coming by today!


Hey Dizzy...
I sure have to agree with you, buddy! This is one program I can support completely!

I thank you, sir, for coming by today!


Hey JoJo...
I think you are so right about them wanting to earn their own money. Most have a real sense of pride! They don't want a hand out, but rather a hand up!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!


Syrbal said...

I remember those pens well! No more of them about now, however....(btw, this is Labrys of HerlanderRefugee and it is moving day, I am de-googlizing and becoming Syrbal at herlanderwalking.wordpress.com TODAY!)

HermitJim said...

Hey Syrbal...
I figured you would be familiar with those pens!

I've added your new blog addy to my sidebar and removed the old one. Thanks for the heads up!

Thanks, also, for coming over today!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

THis program was a good one to learn about today, HJ.