Business Enterprise Program for the Blind
Contact: Jeanne Gallo
Department of Services for the Blind
P.O. Box 40933
Olympia, WA 98504-0933
State Website: http://www.dsb.wa.gov/about/bep.shtml
Participation: 28 participants were served by Business Enterprise Program for the Blind between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.
Who is Served: Participants must be U.S. citizens and meet the legal definition of blind. They also must be referred by a Department of Services for the Blind vocational rehabilitation counselor and meet Business Enterprise Program requirements.
Program Description: The purpose of the Business Enterprise Program is to provide opportunities for blind individuals to succeed as independent business people. The program is part of the state vocational rehabilitation program for the blind. The program’s goal is to increase employment opportunities for blind citizens and to demonstrate their skills and abilities.
Other Program Characteristics: Opportunities to become independent business people are made possible through training and licensing to operate and maintain vending machine and food service management facilities in public buildings. By legislation, blind persons participating in the program are given preference in the operation of vending facilities on federal, state, county, municipal, and other governmental property. The source of program funds is federal and state vending machine revenues.
Program History: The Business Enterprise Program was one of the programs that moved to the Commission for the Blind (later Department of Services for the Blind) from the Department of Social and Health Services after legislation was signed in July 1977 that established separate services for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Planning Cycle: Every two years.
Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure for the program is placement of licensed blind vendors in facilities and the successful operation of the sites under blind vendor management.
Funding and Regional Division: The program has no regional divisions. It is directed from its main office in Olympia and funded by vending machine revenue only.
State Funding: $571,000 (October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011) State vending machine revenue.
Federal Funding: $240,000 (October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011). Federal vending machine revenue.
Statutory Authority: Federal - Section 2, 49 Statute 1559 as amended. 209 USC 107 CFR 34, Part 395. State - RCW 74.18.220-230 and 74.18.230.WAC Chapter 67–35. Administered by the state Department of Services for the Blind.