The past two years has been a period of unprecedented change for many of us. The safety and supply chain concerns from the global pandemic have presented several unique challenges, yet I am proud to say the Austin Lighthouse has not only met these challenges but taken them as an opportunity to grow and improve our operations and the quality of life for the members of our Lighthouse team. While our mission remains the same, our strategy of how to deliver that mission and maintain our core values did require us to re-frame ourselves as an organization.
We took on the task of reviewing and re-defining our core business.
Our intent being that if someone could perform a non-core function better and still allow us to pursue our mission, why not look at allowing them to perform the work.
We began with our custodial staff. Having a custodial staff is needed but the question that asked is it our core business? We agreed it was not, so we submitted a request for proposal to several organizations. After reviewing and interviewing several candidates the Austin Lighthouse selected, Professional Contract Services Inc., a local SourceAmerica agency. To meet the requirements of the contract, PCSI is now employing nine additional disabled Texans, furthering their mission objectives.
The second line of business we reviewed was our IT department.
Since 2019, the Austin Lighthouse has gone through an intensive IT transformation, so much so that we were recently recognized as being in the top 8% by our CMMC auditors. Our IT department was also one of the first NIB organizations to move away from VPN’s (virtual private network) and adopt Zero Trust, a software defined perimeter, which the DOD is in the process of migrating to also.
New government mandates coupled with upgraded cybersecurity standards and the skills required to maintain them, meant our IT costs slowly began increasing as a percentage of revenue. Add to all this the fact that we are in Austin, Texas where we are competing for the same skills with Dell, Tesla, Google, etc., it made sense that we look to partner with a company that would not only maintain our high-performance standards but also focus on continuous improvement.
After a review it was suggested the best course of action would be to outsource the entire IT department to an organization whose core business and mission was IT related. We all agreed and submitted a request for proposals to several IT organizations including both Dell and Rackspace.
One of the major vetting items during our interviews with prospective suiters was a culture interview. Our goal was to find not only an organization that would hire our IT employees but also increase our IT performance and just as important, match the culture of our Lighthouse.
After months of vetting, interviews, and discussion we selected OKIN PROCESS. Coincidently, OKIN had hired several of our blind referral candidates for their call center opportunities in the past year and their culture was a good fit.
In both these cases, our contractors have increased the employment of severely disabled Texans to support our agency. The Austin Lighthouse can focus on our core business lines and in improving the career paths for blind Texans.