What is a "Work Center?"
S.16.752 (1)(e) Wis. Stat. defines a "Work Center" as:
- A charitable organization or nonprofit institution which is licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and incorporated in the State of Wisconsin or a unit of county government in Wisconsin which is licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development; and
- Is operated for the purpose of carrying out a program of rehabilitation for severely handicapped individuals and for providing the individuals with remunerative employment or other occupational rehabilitating activity of an educational or therapeutic nature; and
- Is engaged in the production of materials, supplies or equipment or the performance of contractual services; and
- Employs severely handicapped individuals for not less than 75% of the total hours of direct labor in the production of goods or in the performance of services.
Who administers the State Use Program?
The State Use Board provides oversight to the State Use Program to insure it is administered in accord with s.16.752, Wis. Stat. The Board is composed of eight members, representative of Work Centers, State agencies, and the public, and appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The Board has staff within the Department of Administration, State Bureau of Procurement, to manage daily operations.
When does the State of Wisconsin award a contract for goods or services to a Work Center?
A State agency must award a contract to purchase goods and services from a Work Center when a Work Center is able to: satisfy the agency's needs at a competitive fair market price, employ persons with severe disabilities to perform at least 75% of the direct labor hours; and, for a product, add value to the raw materials used to make the product. The Work Center must meet specifications, including delivery time, and other conditions of the contract that would apply otherwise to a non-Work Center contractor.
If only one Work Center provides a product or service, the State need not solicit bids to contract with the Work Center. If two or more Work Centers are able to provide the same product or service, then the State offers each Work Center an opportunity to submit a bid. The Work Center with the lowest bid that satisfies the State's needs obtains the contract.
How much business have the Work Centers done with the State of Wisconsin?
The Annual Report is available for viewing at the State Use Program website at stateuseprogram.wi.gov.
What is the length of a typical Work Center contract?
A State contract with a Work Center continues in perpetuity, or indefinitely, provided that the Work Center continues to satisfy the needs of the State and State Use Law requirements. The reason for this contract length is that a Work Center often needs special adaptive equipment or substantial additional training time to permit its employees with severe disabilities handicaps to become productive. Also, these contracts are expected to offer long term stability to the occupational rehabilitation and educational activities required of Work Centers. If a Work Center fails to provide goods or services as described in a contract with the State, the State terminates the contract with the approval of the State Use Board. If a Work Center chooses to end a contract, it must give at least thirty (30) days written notice, or more if required in the contract documents, to end its contract with the State of Wisconsin.
What types of products and services do the Work Centers provide to the State of Wisconsin?
Custodial service is the primary product or service that Work Centers provide to State agencies. This includes maintaining and cleaning State buildings and most of the Rest Areas along Wisconsin's interstate highways. Work Centers' sales to State agencies also include: canliners, ball point pens, brooms, brushes, disposable mop heads, floor pads for cleaning machines, launderable dust mops, mailings, pencils, and toothpaste.
When would a Work Center's production of a product or service impact another vendor's contract?
If a non-Work Center has a contract with the State of Wisconsin and a Work Center develops the capability to provide the same product or service, then the State examines several factors. If the Work Center's product or service satisfies the State's needs; if the Work Center's selling price is competitive; if the Work Center adds value or appreciable contribution to provide the product; if the Work Center has a viable plan for satisfying the direct labor requirement; and if the current contract is approaching renewal or expiration; then, the State would award a new contract to the Work Center at time of contract renewal or re-bidding.
A provision exists in the law that permits the State to interrupt an existing State contract with a non-Work Center contractor, if the State contract accounts for less than fifteen percent (15%) of the current contractor's gross yearly sales or production. That is, the State could terminate a contract rather than wait for a contract renewal or expiration date. However, this provision never has been applied in the ten-year history of the current State Use Program.
What must a Work Center do to become eligible for a State contract?
Annually, a Work Center must submit to the State Use Board an application for recertification to include:
- Any changes in its Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, certified by the Secretary of State, State of Wisconsin; and
- Any changes in its IRS Tax Exempt Letter; and
- The current year sub-minimum wage license issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
A Work Center which is associated with a Wisconsin county must submit changes in its county ordinance establishing the Work Center and its sub-minimum wage license issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
For further information, call 608-266-5462 or write to: State Use Program, 101 East Wilson Street, 6th Floor, P.O. Box 7867, Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7867.