Randolph Sheppard Vending Facility Program

Program Description

The Vending Facility program authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act provides persons who are blind with remunerative employment and self-support through the operation of vending facilities on federal and other property. The program, enacted into law in 1936, was intended to enhance employment opportunities for trained, licensed blind persons to operate facilities. The law was subsequently amended in 1954 and again in 1974 to ultimately ensure individuals who are blind a priority in the operation of vending facilities, which included cafeterias, snack bars, and automatic vending machines, that are on federal property. The program priority has broadened in most states through state laws to include state, county, municipal, and private locations as well. Under the Randolph Sheppard program, state licensing agencies recruit, train, license, and place individuals who are blind as operators of vending facilities located on federal and other properties. The act authorizes a blind individual licensed by the state licensing agency to conduct specified activities in vending facilities through permits or contracts.

Additional Information

This program was developed following the enactment of the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936, 20 USC 107 et. seq., as amended in 1954 and 1974. The 1936 act was enacted to provide blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarge their economic opportunities, and encourage their self-support through the operation of vending facilities in federal buildings. The U.S. Department of Education prescribes regulations, as set forth in 34 CFR, Part 395, implementing the Act as amended (See 41 CFR 101-20.2). Randolph-Sheppard vending facilities can be established in leased space and under Cooperative Use Space in General Services Administration (GSA) locations.

Under the Randolph-Sheppard Program, state rehabilitation agencies recruit, train, license and place individuals who are blind as operators of vending facilities located on federal and other properties. In FY 2014, a total of 2,108 blind vendors operated 2,389 vending facilities located on federal and other property. The program generated $693.6 million, and the average vendor earnings amounted to $59,012.

The total gross income for the program was $697,000,000 million in FY 2015 compared to $693,000,000 million in FY 2014. The total earnings of all vendors were $118.2 million in FY 2015.

Decisions of Arbitration Panels

Under section 107d-2(c) of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, the Secretary publishes the decisions of <a href="/policy-arbitration-decisions">arbitration panels</a> selected to adjudicate disputes over the administration of vending facilities on Federal and other property. You may view a list of those decisions, or view the instructions for how to perform a keyword search.

CFDA code
No CDFA

RSA Frequently-Asked Questions: Randolph-Sheppard Act Financial Relief and Restoration Payments Appropriation: Part 2 (FAQ 21-06)

A second frequently-asked questions document that responds to additional inquiries concerning the administration of the Randolph-Sheppard Act Financial Relief and Restoration Payments Appropriation. RSA issued the first set of frequently-asked questions on March 12, 2021. 

TAC-21-02

The Application of the Randolph-Sheppard Act Priority for Blind Vendors to the Operation of Vending Machines on Federal Property and the Use of Third-Party Vendors on that Property

Randolph-Sheppard Financial Relief and Restoration Payments (FRRP) Appropriation

Approved Assurances and Use of FRRP Funds 

RSA has approved Assurances and Use of FRRP Funds for the following State licensing agencies (SLAs): 

  1. Alabama: Form
  2. Alaska: Form
  3. Arkansas: Form
  4. Arizona: Form
  5. California: Form and Attachment 1
  6. Colorado: Form
  7. Connecticut: Form
  8. Delaware: Form
  9. Florida: Form, Attachment 1, and Attachment 2
  10. Georgia: Form
  11. Hawaii: Form and Attachment 1
  12. Idaho: Form
  13. Illinois: Form and Attachment 1
  14. Indiana: Form, Attachment 1, and Attachment 2
  15. Iowa: Form and Attachment 1
  16. Kansas: Form
  17. Louisiana: Form and Attachment 1
  18. Maine: Form
  19. Maryland: Form
  20. Massachusetts: Form
  21. Michigan: Form
  22. Minnesota: Form and Attachment 1
  23. Mississippi: Form, Attachment 1, and Attachment 2
  24. Nebraska: Form, Attachment 1, and Attachment 2
  25. New Hampshire: Form and Attachment 1
  26. New Jersey: Form
  27. New York: Form and Attachment 1
  28. North Carolina: Form, Attachment 1, and Attachment 2
  29. Ohio: Form and Attachment 1
  30. Oklahoma: Form and Attachment 1
  31. Oregon: Form and Attachment 1
  32. Pennsylvania: Form and Attachment 1
  33. Rhode Island: Form
  34. South Carolina: Form
  35. Tennessee: Form
  36. Utah: Form
  37. Virginia: Form and Attachment 1
  38. Washington: Form
  39. West Virginia: Form, Attachment 1, and Attachment 2

These SLAs will receive an email notification from the G5 Grants Management System as soon as the Grant Award Notification (GAN) is issued. The GAN will state that the period of performance for these FRRP funds ends on September 30, 2022.

FAQs related to Randolph-Sheppard FRRP Appropriation

On June 14, 2021, RSA issued a second set of Frequently Asked Questions: Randolph-Sheppard Act Financial Relief and Restoration Payments Appropriation (FAQ 21-06) to respond to additional inquiries. 

On March 12, 2021, RSA issued Frequently Asked Questions: Randolph-Sheppard Act Financial Relief and Restoration Payments Appropriation (FAQ 21-04) to respond to inquiries concerning the administration of this appropriation. 

FFY 2021 Estimated Grant Awards by State (updated March 17, 2021)

RSA provides these estimated grant award amounts for FFY 2021 based upon the Congressional Appropriation ($20,000,000) divided by the number of vendors (i.e., 1,786 vendors) as reported by SLAs on the FFY 2019 RSA-15 reports (OMB Control No: 1820-0009).

Federal Register Notice: Emergency Clearance of New Information Collection

On February 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education published an emergency clearance of a new information collection resulting from enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Division H, Title III. This provision authorized the Secretary of Education to allot $20,000,000 for one-time financial relief and restoration grants consistent with the purposes of the Randolph-Sheppard Act as authorized under section 10 of such Act (20 U.S.C. 107f). Prior to this legislation, Congress has not appropriated funds for the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program. Therefore, the Department is seeking this data collection in order to meet its obligation to ensure that Federal funds are being used for their prescribed purposes. 

Assurances and Use of FRRP Funds Form

RSA provides this information collection (OMB Control No. 1820-0698) containing the assurances and use of FRRP funds for SLAs. The Office of Management and Budget has approved this information collection through August 31, 2021.

Certification of Lobbying Form

SLAs receiving funding under the FRRP Appropriation must submit the Certification Regarding Lobbying Form (ED 80-0013) to RSA to comply with the certification requirements under 34 C.F.R. Part 82, "New Restrictions on Lobbying." This certification is a material representation of fact upon which the U.S. Department of Education relies when it makes a grant or enters into a cooperative agreement.

TAC-21-01

Active Participation of Elected Committees of Blind Vendors with State Licensing Agencies in the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program

Randolph-Sheppard Resources

Application and Permit for the Establishment of a Vending Facility on Federal Property 

This application and permit for the establishment of a vending facility on Federal property, as authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act, includes the following attachments and appendices: Attachment A: Satisfactory Site Location; Attachment B: Facility Drawings; Attachment C: Types of Articles Sold and Serviced; Attachment D: List of Equipment and Fixtures; Attachment E: Vending Machines; Attachment F: Hours of Operation Schedule; Attachment G: Other Terms and Conditions; Attachment H: GSA and SLA Resolution Process; Appendix A: Executive Order 13658 Contracts Clause; and Appendix B: Executive Order 13706 Contracts Clause. 

AbilityOne/RSA Memorandum of Understanding

RSA and the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (operating as the U.S. AbilityOne Commission) agree to work together to increase communication and understanding between the agencies regarding which opportunities are appropriate for persons who are blind to operate vending facilities under the Randolph-Sheppard Act and which are appropriate for placement on the Procurement List under the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. Furthermore, AbilityOne and RSA agree to work together to expand entrepreneurial and other employment-related opportunities for individuals who are blind or who have significant disabilities.

Employment outcomes and entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals who are blind or who have significant disabilities can be improved through a closer working relationship between AbilityOne and RSA. This Memorandum of Understanding, executed on January 19, 2021, establishes the framework for AbilityOne and RSA to work more closely together and to encourage their respective stakeholders to also work cooperatively together to promote improved services and entrepreneurial and employment opportunities to their mutual participants. The definitions, published on June 1, 2021 as an appendix, are pertinent to this agreement that will facilitate both clearer communication and adherence to the agreement.

Report to Congress

On December 21, 2020, RSA transmitted the report on the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 to the Committees on Appropriations, pursuant to the congressional explanatory statement to the fiscal year 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 116-94), signed into law on December 20, 2019. This report summarizes RSA’s progress in the convening of arbitration panels in a timely manner, the review and approval of State licensing agencies’ (SLA) policy changes, and RSA’s work with SLAs to approve routine expenditures, including prior approval requests, associated with the program. The report also describes the technical assistance RSA provided to SLAs and blind vendors.

Appeal of Arbitration Decision Letter

On November 23, 2020, RSA responded to Department of the Army’s appeal of the arbitration panel decision in Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services v. Department of the Army, Fort Sill (Case No. R-S/18-9) via this letter. Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, there is no right to appeal an adverse arbitration decision to the Secretary of Education.  Judicial review in Federal district court is available to aggrieved persons as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act.

Appellate Court Decisions

On January 25, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision in State of Ohio, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Bureau of Services of Visually Impaired, Business Enterprise Program v. U.S. Department of Education (No. 19-3397).  

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in State of Kansas, by and through the Kansas Department for Children and Families vs. Source America; Lakeview Center, Inc., and United States Department of Education, United States Department of the Army, and United States Department of Defense (No. 19-1452).

On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision in Texas Workforce Commission vs. United States Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration  (No. 19-50283). 

Operation of Vending Facilities Letter 

On March 5, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sent a letter to Representative Pete Sessions related to the Randolph-Sheppard Act and the operation of vending facilities on Federal property. 

Eligibility

Who May Apply: An application for designation as a State Licensing Agency (SLA) may only be submitted by the State VR agency providing VR services to the blind under an approved VR services portion of a WIOA Unified or Combined State Plan. 

Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program

Program Description

The Vending Facility program authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act provides persons who are blind with remunerative employment and self-support through the operation of vending facilities on federal and other property. The program, enacted into law in 1936, was intended to enhance employment opportunities for trained, licensed blind persons to operate facilities. The law was subsequently amended in 1954 and again in 1974 to ultimately ensure individuals who are blind a priority in the operation of vending facilities, which included cafeterias, snack bars, and automatic vending machines, that are on federal property. The program priority has broadened in most states through state laws to include state, county, municipal, and private locations as well. Under the program, State licensing agencies recruit, train, license, and place individuals who are blind as operators of vending facilities located on Federal and other properties. The act authorizes a blind individual licensed by the State licensing agency to conduct specified activities in vending facilities through permits or contracts.

Additional Information

This program was developed following the enactment of the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936, 20 USC 107 et. seq., as amended in 1954 and 1974. The 1936 act was enacted to provide blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarge their economic opportunities, and encourage their self-support through the operation of vending facilities in federal buildings. The U.S. Department of Education prescribes regulations, as set forth in 34 CFR, Part 395, implementing the Act as amended (See 41 CFR 101-20.2). Randolph-Sheppard vending facilities can be established in leased space and under Cooperative Use Space in General Services Administration locations.

In FY 2017, a total of 1,821 blind vendors operated 2090 vending facilities located on Federal and other property. The program generated $664.7 million and the average vendor earnings amounted to $66,240.