Weekly Focus - May 1, 2015

An update and information report for doctors who provide consultative exams for OOD’s Division of Disability Determination
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

Kevin L. Miller, Executive Director

May 1, 2015

The mission of the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency is to ensure individuals with disabilities achieve quality employment, independence and disability determination outcomes.

What's Inside:

Executive Director Kevin L. Miller provided testimony at the Ohio Statehouse yesterday.
Director Kevin L. Miller testifies before the Ohio Senate Medicaid Committee

Senate Budget Testimony

Yesterday afternoon, I testified before the Senate Medicaid Committee on OOD’s biennial budget provisions as included in HB 64. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of agency staff, and our partners and providers across the state, we have made great progress in more effectively and efficiently providing opportunities for those we serve.


Throughout the budget process the progress our agency has made has been highlighted by legislators.  Senator Dave Burke, Chair of the Senate Medicaid Committee, noted yesterday that, having been a part of a number of budgets, he was impressed with how far the agency has come, and the improvements that have been made despite some significant challenges.


As I told the committee in my testimony, I am proud of the way our staff and partners have risen to the challenge and made a difference in peoples’ lives, but there is more work to be done.  This agency will continue to work smarter and leverage every state dollar available to improve the employment opportunities and outcomes for those we serve. 

The Journey to Employment

The Ohio Association of Adult Services (OAAS) and the Ohio Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (Ohio APSE) held their third annual conference at the Crowne Plaza North in Worthington last week. This year's theme was "Changing the Tide" and was focused on changing and improving employment outcomes.


A morning session, entitled Our Journey to Employment - Personal Stories from Ohio, highlighted some recent Employment First success stories.  In an afternoon session, OOD’s Julie Hance, VR Special Projects, and DODD’s Joe Kowalski, Project Manager, Employment First, highlighted the critical issue of finding the right supports for individuals with complex needs.


Jeffrey A. Gossett successfully gained employment through the Employment First partnership.
Jeffrey Gossett speaks at the 3rd Annual OAAS and Ohio APSE Conference


Jeffrey Gossett, was one of the individuals participating in the morning session and shared his journey to employment.  Jeff’s journey began last summer with a sense of excitement and the support and involvement of his parents. 


Working with Alpha Community Services (Ergon) in Delaware County, and with Susan Eckman from the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jeff developed his resume and prepared for community employment. One challenge Jeff faced, was learning to drive. Despite being nervous, like most first time drivers, Jeff agreed to a driving assessment and started pre-drivers education.  He received his permit that same month and on the first try.


After his job development and job coaching with Ergon, Jeff practically led his own job search!  He knew which jobs he was interested in and was able to arrange a number of interviews.  Ultimately, he decided to take a job offer with JCPenney at the Polaris Fashion Place.


Jeff has thrived in his new job and his employer has reported great things about his work. He received a certificate for excellent customer service due to his patience and attention in assisting a customer in the store and was recognized as Employee of the Month in March.


Speaking at last week’s conference was another example of how his confidence has grown and how community employment can expand one’s opportunities. Jeff has also volunteered with other JCPenney workers at Common Ground, giving back to the community. 


It is great to see Employment First making an impact in people's lives. Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your story and best of luck as your employment journey continues.


Job Ready Status by County

Individuals in Job Ready Status* Statewide: 3,792

(For larger map and county details please click here)

Individuals in Job Ready Status by County

*Job Ready Status: received Vocational Rehabilitation services and are ready and seeking employment.

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