While you might think those two sound the same, they are essentially different in not only their mission but also how they purchase items. the Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) refers to itself as the ‘work arm’ of the Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC)… essentially, the IPI helps prepare current offenders with work training opportunities to prepare them for life after their time has been served and reduce recidivism. They sell a variety of products that they create to government agencies, nonprofits, and employees of those agencies. For a full listing of the productions sold by the IPI, visit their homepage: https://www.iaprisonind.com/. Meanwhile, the Iowa Department of Corrections’ mission is to ‘Create opportunities for safer communities’, and manages nine facilities that house over 30,000 individuals across the state of Iowa: https://doc.iowa.gov/.
The IPI does occasionally post purchasing opportunities directly to their website, and also ask that you fill out a vendor form. The opportunities, bid documents, and vendor registration forms can be found here: https://www.iaprisonind.com/store/pg/171-Vendor-Opportunities.aspx
The Iowa Department of Corrections does their purchasing through the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, or DAS, and requires that you first become a registered vendor with the state of Iowa. DAS regularly offers vendor orientations, and their upcoming dates and registration info can be found here: https://das.iowa.gov/procurement/vendors/vendor-orientation
Our PTAC counselors can also help walk you through the process of registering as a vendor with the state of Iowa, but you can take a look at current bid opportunities here, or register as a vendor here.
In addition, you can always set up a meeting with a DAS purchasing officer, share your capabilities statement, and get their thoughts on ways you can market yourself and connect with more DOC opportunities. Finally, DAS recommends has a listing of the DOC institutions here, along with their finance and purchasing managers contact information: https://das.iowa.gov/procurement/vendors/purchasing-contacts/agencyfacility-staff.
As always, if you’d like to discuss your strategy of selling to a government agency, we are here to help!