Business Enterprise New Jersey (BENJ)
WHAT IS “BENJ”?
Business Enterprise New Jersey (BENJ) operates under The Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936, 20 U.S.C. § 107 et seq., a federal law that mandates a priority to blind persons to operate vending facilities on Federal property. The program priority has broadened through state laws to include state, county, municipal, and private locations as well. In each state across the United States, a SLA (State Licensing Agency) has the responsibility to administer Randolph Sheppard. In the State of New Jersey, the designated SLA is the New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired.
In New Jersey, each day thousands of customers are competently served at the various BENJ facilities currently open across the State. These business operations include: vending machine locations, newspaper stands, snack bars, and full service cafeterias. These locations are all operated by blind CBVI BENJ clients, referred to as licensed Managers.
To participate in BENJ you must:
- Be legally blind (20/200 or worse with best corrected vision and certain field of vision limitations)
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a legal resident of the of the U.S. and State of NJ
- Have earned a high school diploma or GED
Training classes for BENJ participants are conducted at the Joseph Kohn Training Center, as well as at other food service sites. In addition, on-the-job training at different BENJ locations is provided. Sanitation, safety, merchandising, and customer service are all important components of the comprehensive classroom and hands-on operational instruction that is required for earning a BENJ license.
Are You Ready to Get Started in BENJ?
- You must first become a client of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired.
- Contact your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, who will discuss the basic BENJ requirements to help you assess if this is the right option for your employment future.
- If you meet the minimum qualifications, your VR Counselor will schedule a meeting with a BENJ Representative who will then explain the program in detail, including training and licensure requirements, types of facilities, realistic timetables for placement and advancement, and potential income levels.
Building Partnerships and Creating Opportunities:
The Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired is seeking to form Partnerships for Prosperity in communities all over New Jersey to expand BENJ by establishing new locations where trained and licensed Managers will have the opportunity to become gainfully employed.
The Benefits of Having a BENJ Location in Your Facility:
- Customers enjoy convenience and good service at reasonable prices;
- Individuals who are blind are able to be self-sufficient, tax paying entrepreneurs by managing their own business; and
- Communities receive important messages on valuing diversity and the abilities of people once thought of as handicapped.
INDEPENDENCE: Believe and Achieve!
Business Enterprise New Jersey is a true example of the commitment that the Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired has made to create and expand employment opportunities for people living in New Jersey who are blind!
You are invited to observe this very successful program in action. We will be happy to arrange for a visit to any of our facilities located all over the state.
For further information, please contact Deacon Truesdale, Manager of BENJ at 732-937-6393 or email: Deacon.Truesdale@dhs.state.nj.us