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August 10th, 2020

People packaging Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at TKC's PPE Distribution Center.

The Kennedy Center of Connecticut is supporting a federal agency's nearly 400 locations by providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through a contract creating new, local employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. 

The Trumbull-based Kennedy Center signed a one-year contract with two one-year option periods for an estimated value of $13 million with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to supply PPE and cleaning supplies to NOAA’s 400 locations in the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Pacific Islands.

The Kennedy Center, working with SourceAmerica — a central nonprofit agency in the AbilityOne Program — responded to NOAA’s need through its burgeoning PPE Distribution Center. The Kennedy Center’s PPE social enterprise started in early April, after the agency struggled to obtain PPE for its frontline workers. In the early days of the pandemic, The Kennedy Center formed a partnership with a local businesswoman and began sourcing FDA-certified PPE through the global supply chain. The business has since been providing affordable PPE to local not-for-profits, first responders, businesses, individuals and government agencies, all while remaining committed to employing people with disabilities and special needs.

Kennedy Center President and CEO Rick Sebastian said the launch of this dual-bottom line PPE business was a way The Kennedy Center could continue to support its community.

Difficult times often spark innovation and the opportunity to pivot,” Sebastian said. “Sourcing and distributing much needed and FDA certified PPE is one more way we bring value and impact to our communities.”

Sebastian said the contract with NOAA now expands The Kennedy Center’s impact significantly and is allowing the organization to provide more meaningful job opportunities to people with disabilities, veterans and individuals with other barriers to employment.

We are honored to be tasked with helping to keep NOAA’s staff, contractors and guests safe in these unprecedented times,” Sebastian said. “Here in Trumbull, we have been interviewing and hiring new members of the team and are excited to add more positions, especially during these times of historic unemployment numbers, which has had a greater impact on people from the disability community."

The Kennedy Center will be providing NOAA locations with hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks, face shields, gloves, cleaning supplies and more.

NOAA, which has a laboratory in Milford, Conn., is under the U.S. Department of Commerce and provides citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable and timely environmental intelligence. This includes daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration, and maintaining marine commerce. To learn more, visit

Order Kennedy Center PPE or view inventory and pricing

The Kennedy Center is a Connecticut-based not-for-profit empowering 2,400 people with disabilities and special needs each year. 

Launched in 1951 by a small group of parents, The Kennedy Center has built upon a legacy of trailblazers and continues to create a future of new possibilities. Supports and programs include vibrant creative exploration, Autism-specific programming, transition support for young adults, employment and job placement services, social enterprises, community experience programs, statewide Travel Training, 16 residential homes and family education and support.