The Complete Solution Revoked - Part V

Now that you know a bit about the situation, find out more about what has been uncovered by CNN so far. A lot of what we learned can be found in a tape of the Anderson Cooper show on CNN. 

CNN Sources: Nation's disabled work program mired in corruption, fraud

Also, Jake Tapper of CNN, ran an investigative piece on this topic as well. You can view his piece here. 

At ADA rally, calls to overhaul AbilityOne program for disabled people

We ask at this point, that you please sign the petition on entitled, "Please Support Americans with Disabilities and Disabled Veterans in Attaining Positions."

Contact information is used to ensure the veracity of the signature and is kept confidential by NTI and

Let us know what you think after you view the show.

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The Complete Solution Revoked - Part IV


So our fight continues. The Anderson Cooper 360 show has picked up the story and has shown 2 segments with a 3rd to follow. We need your help to continue to increase awareness.

Below is a link to Change.Org. We’ve created a petition. Help us make it go VIRAL

Please sign the petition and then share it with your friends and family. There are buttons on the right hand side at the bottom of the page to send it via Facebook, Twitter or Email.
Your contact information is only used to verify your signature and is kept confidential.

Also, if you click the link at the bottom of our petition you’ll see the first airing of the show.

Thank You! Lets stop this injustice and reform the AbilityOne program.

Remember- Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world. Indeed, it has never been done otherwise. ~ Margaret Mead

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The Complete Solution Revoked - Part III

Continued from Part II. To read the 1st part of our story, click here

The NTI team was pretty shaken with the news of losing out on the bid. We had a solid proposal, a strong, experienced team and we had a plan (and the experience) to exceed the programs hiring goals for people with disability. What went wrong? We asked for a review with the evaluation team and their manager. They told us we did a good job and should be proud. They identified a few areas we could have done better; our quality assurance plan was one. Interestingly, this is one of the pieces that we leveraged heavily from our technology partner. It was actually in use on the contract at that time!  So we appealed the decision. We went through multiple levels of appeals until we reached the AbilityOne Commission. The Commission over-turned the SourceAmericas decision. They instructed SourceAmerica to open up the bid process again. Wed won!

We scrambled to modify our proposal. Tweaking it to address the minor comments SourceAmerica provided in our review. We submitted our proposal again and we waited. It wasnt long before we got our response. We lost again  We later learned that the USDA didnt even review our proposal. We went through the review/appeal process again. In the review process we were told that ensuring the highest number of people with disabilities were hired was not a primary decision-making criteria. Really? We were incredulous. As we went through the review and appeal process we learned a lot but the result was the same. We lost

Some companies would have given up right then but we knew that the process hadnt been fair. Our technology partner came to us and asked us to backfill positions on the USDA contract. We trained and placed 16 help desk agents on the contract. Our agents took over 3000 calls per month. Our partner told us our agents got up to speed as fast as or faster than of our partners agents and their quality was just as high. Our team knew this might be a short-term assignment but hopefully they were blazing a trail for more of their colleagues to follow.

NTI continued to fight the fight. We decided to appeal the decision in the US Court of Appeals. A long arduous process that would review the governments procurement practices for this contract.

Meanwhile, after 10 months on the job the NTI team at USDA was firing on all cylinders. Our technology partner was funneling more and more calls to us. Then we got the news. They were shutting us down. USDA and SourceAmerica were transferring this part of the contract to the new vendor. Just this piece. None of the rest

We pulled the team together and broke the news to them. They were extremely disappointed. They had worked so hard and done so well and now the government program they hoped would change their lives was telling NTI to fire them. It was a tough message to give and a VERY tough message to receive.

So where do we go from here?

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The Complete Solution Revoked - Part II

Continued from Part I. To read the 1st part of our story, click here

NTI was selected as one of two finalists for the contract. We were required to present our solution to SourceAmerica and USDA.  We locked ourselves in a hotel conference room for almost a week to prepare; NTI's Executive Director, COO (who had 25+ years designing, building and running large-scale call centers) and VP of Client Services (25 years in the
technology space managing large scale implementation project) and the two senior managers from the technology partner who worked on the current USDA contract. This was a true dream team.

After the presentations, we were shocked to learn we did not get the contract. It wasn't hubris. Why would anyone choose to replace existing systems that had received high marks from the customer for five years? Why would anyone not choose a non-profit that could out-of-the-gate commit to have 75+ percent Americans with disabilities employed? Had we been too risk adverse? Not aggressive enough? We had had very senior people designing the solution. They had gone through implementations like this dozens of times.  They were realistic. They were committed to employing as many Americans with disabilities as possible. 

To be continued...

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The Complete Solution Revoked - Part 1

In 2013, NTI bid on an AbilityOne contract for the USDA/Forest Service help desk. It was the first time in almost five years that an AbilityOne call center contract allowing for at-home agents was put out to bid. Since NTI has specialized in at home agents for over twenty years, we saw this as a tremendous opportunity to place severely disabled Americans to work. The contract allowed for the non-profit to partner with for-profit companies to fill the gaps in their solution. After talking to several large outsourcing and call center technology companies we decided to partner with one of the largest technology companies in the world, a top 75 Fortune 500 company.

There was a symbiosis between NTI and the client. NTI was able to provide was a complete solution, which consisted of:
  • An overqualified team with every person on the team having at least 10 years of help desk experience.
  • NTI trained candidates who experienced a full week of call center and customer service training
  • The ability to revamp the client training by NTI’s training staff who could provide a complete blended training program
  • A low cost solution of personnel and personnel management
  • Management and a Human Resource solution for the client

Our new technology partner was also the current service provider for the 
USDA/Forest Service help desk. As we put together our bid response we leveraged heavily off of what was already in place. This would allow NTI to keep the costs low and transition time short. It also reduced the risk for the government – no change in technology.  No other bidder could possibly match that. It would allow us to employ more Americans with disability faster. We had an agreement with our technology partner to bring agents on board before the contact was even signed! There would be no time-consuming software installs and configurations, no costly migrations of USDA data and little if any risk of the new agents not being trained appropriately because our USDA-experienced partner would be there to back us up. How could we lose? As a matter fact, a senior SourceAmerica director told us with our technology partner there was no way we could lose. Well we did, twice...  

Check back tomorrow to see what happened from here!

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