Business Enterprise Program Licensee Training (BEPLT)

The Chicago Lighthouse's Forsythe Entrepreneurial Center offers a curriculum specifically designed to train people who are blind or visually impaired to become Randolph-Sheppard vendors. This curriculum of online business modules was developed in partnership with the National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) and the National Federation of the Blind's Entrepreneurs Initiative (NFBEI) for the Randolph-Sheppard vendor program. This program is available to state agency licensing staff, as well as current and prospective Randolph-Sheppard vendors. Participation is subject to NABM approval and state payment of associated fees.

What is Business Enterprise Program Licensee Training?

The BEPLT is a series of 12 online business modules, covering the classroom portion of Business Enterprise Program training. The lessons are constructed to minimize classroom time and maximize hands-on practice. To successfully complete the program, trainees must earn a minimum grade of 75% in each of the 12 module assessments, as well as 75% on a cumulative final exam (administered upon successful completion of the final module). Failure to earn a minimum score of 75% in any module of the series or on the cumulative final exam will result in program termination for the trainee. Upon successful completion of the BEPLT, Forsythe Entrepreneurial Center staff will notify NABM, as well as the trainee’s referring agency, for credentialing.

Vendors seeking to transfer their BEPLT credential to another state should contact the new location’s State Licensing Agency (SLA) for transfer consideration. In order to ensure a comprehensive training experience, we recommend that the new SLA provide hands-on training to supplement the BEPLT, as well as educate the vendor about state and local regulations before issuing a license.

Who can enroll?

Participants must meet the Randolph-Sheppard program’s national eligibility requirements and must also understand the modules, which are written in English at a high-school level. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors must also refer and authorize each candidate’s participation.

Before enrolling in the program, we recommend candidates consider the following minimum requirements.

How much does it cost?

There is no direct cost to any enrollee.

  • For Randolph-Sheppard vendor trainees, referring State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors authorize and pay the $4,500 fee per trainee to the National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) for enrollment.
  • State Licensing Agency (SLA) staff and licensed Randolph-Sheppard vendors are also encouraged to complete the training. SLA staff members and current Randolph-Sheppard vendors may enroll in the full BEPLT package or may complete individual modules. For enrollment in the full package, the SLA pays the full fee to NABM. For individual module enrollment, the SLA pays $500 per module to NABM.

In any of the above cases, The Chicago Lighthouse will enroll students once NABM confirms the receipt of payment.

How are modules taught?

All BEPLT modules are taught through asynchronous online learning. Candidates may study and complete modules anytime, anywhere and on their own schedule. Forsythe Entrepreneurial Center instructors are available via e-mail or by a toll-free phone number to assist with course-related questions. Credentialed instructors will also grade each lesson assignment and provide necessary feedback.

Learn more about the BEPLT modules

How to enroll

Candidates can complete the online student enrollment form at any time. However, candidates cannot begin the course of study until NABM has received a signed authorization form from a referring Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

For current Randolph-Sheppard vendors and rehabilitation professionals seeking to enroll in individual modules, NABM must receive your payment in order to begin your study.

Please submit the enrollment application ONLY if you are enrolling in your first BEPLT module. When you are ready to enroll in another course or module, please contact your instructor.