Business Enterprises Program

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Business Enterprises Program Description

The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) provides an opportunity for qualified DOR consumers, who are legally blind, to become independent food service professionals under the Business Enterprise Program (BEP).

The program was created through federal legislation, the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 (RTF), which was enacted to "provide blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarging the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulating the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting."

The federal and state statutes (right side) governing this program provide a "priority" for blind vendors to operate food service facilities in federal and state government buildings. County and city buildings are not included in this priority, but many county and city governments cooperate with the BEP by making their food service facilities available to the vendors in the program.

BEP provides DOR consumers with training in the operation of cafeterias, vending stands, convenience stores, and vending machine locations with the ultimate goal of the consumers becoming independent food service professionals in California.

BEP conducts training for blind consumers every six months in Sacramento at the headquarters office of the DOR. The formal training consists of a combination of classroom and operational skills training at designated BEP facilities. The training program emphasizes food service management, quality customer service, menu planning, sanitation and safety and merchandising.

In California, BEP vendors earn a median net monthly income of approximately $2,700. The program also provides an additional 677 food service jobs to serve the thousands of customers that are served each day in the 407 BEP sites, operated by 122 BEP Vendors. In addition to a dependable income, vendors have several excellent benefits including health, and life insurance, plus a sound retirement program.

Would you like additional information about establishing a BEP food facility for your employees?

From snack bars and vending machines to full foodservice operations, BEP can provide your workplace with a quality, on-site facility run by trained professionals. The BEP facilities are managed by licensed blind vendors and overseen by qualified Business Enterprise Consultants working for the DOR. If you would like additional information complete the New Location Survey (Word) or Request for Vending Machines (Word) and forward it to BEPResponse@dor.ca.gov.

How can a person apply for this program?

Candidates for the BEP must be legally blind, a United States citizen and a consumer of the DOR. He or she must be motivated, have independent living skills, organizational skills, ability to relate well with the public, and the physical and emotional stamina to meet the tough demands of self-employment. For additional information about becoming a BEP vendor please refer to the BEP Consumer Handbook (Word) and contact a DOR Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at a DOR Office.

 

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