Weekly Focus, October 23, 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

October 23, 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:

Jack Licate to Chair Commission

Commissioner Jack Licate

At Wednesday’s OOD Commission meeting, Vice-Chair, Jack Licate, was elected Chair succeeding Jacqueline Romer-Sensky.  Blake Haxton was elected Vice-Chair.  Commissioner Licate is serving his second term after having been recently reappointed by Governor John Kasich for a seven year term ending in 2022.  


Commissioner Licate, of Shaker Heights, brings executive experience as an institutional developer and community activist in Northeast Ohio.  He has been a senior executive at the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Economic Policies Council and the Build Up Greater Cleveland campaign, and an urban planner for the Cleveland City Planning Commission.  Commissioner Licate has been president of the Hispanic Cultural Center of Cleveland and co-founder of the Hispanic Community Services Coalition.


Congratulations to Commissioner Licate and to Commissioner Haxton.  We look forward to continued engagement with the Commission as we seek to increase quality employment and independence for individuals with disabilities in Ohio.


We would also like to thank Commissioner Romer-Sensky for her dedicated service as Chair and we appreciate her commitment to the people we serve and her leadership through a period of growth and change.


2015 Ben Bonanno Award
Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award Recipient Stephanie Ravak of Columbus Goodwill with Ben Bonanno

2015 Commissioner Awards

The Commission meeting on Wednesday also featured the presentation of the 2015 Commissioner Awards.


Stephanie Ravak, of Goodwill Columbus, is this year’s recipient of the Ben Bonanno Award for her work teaching, mentoring and coaching students with intellectual disabilities in Southwest City Schools. The Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award recognizes a person whose advocacy efforts have significantly improved the employment possibilities of Ohioans with disabilities in a manner that is consistent with OOD’s mission.


Stephanie created on-the-job and classroom experiences as well as lessons that provide students the skills and experience they need to work in the community.  She developed a partnership with Giant Eagle to allow students to work in the store, learn a variety of jobs, and gain valuable insight into what it takes to work in a demanding customer service setting.  Stephanie was a consistent and patient voice for her students and helped Giant Eagle staff better understand and be more open to working with individuals with disabilities.


2015 Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award
Commissioner David V. Daugherty, Kelli Grisham (Assistant Superintendent of Hancock County DD) , Commisioner Jack Licate, Commission Chair Jacqueline Romer-Sensky

Jenny Ferguson, Director of Community Employment and Adult Services for the Hancock County Board of Developmental Disabilities, received the Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award.  This award honors non-employees of OOD who provide outstanding services to Ohioans with disabilities in order to make their participation in society more meaningful.


Jenny’s philosophy of exceptional customer service for each individual shines through in her work.  Since starting her role, community employment for those with developmental disabilities in Hancock County has increased from 23 part-time employees to more than 100 individuals employed.  This past year the average hourly wage has also increased from a little more than $9 per hour to $10.55 per hour.  Her partnership with the Lowe’s Distribution Center in Findlay has also resulted in 11 individuals being employed.


The Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award was established in memory of Denise Weisenborn, who served as Commissioner from 1997 to 2006. Kelli Grisham, Assistant Superintendent of Hancock County DD, accepted the award on Jenny's behalf.


Congratulations to Stephanie and Jenny for everything they do to serve individuals with disabilities in Ohio.  They are making a real difference in people’s lives.

Connecting Job Ready Candidates to Ohio Employers

We continue to receive positive feedback from employers regarding our regional job fairs.  Karis L. Spence, Vice President – Talent Acquisition Consultant Senior, Human Resources, Huntington National Bank, shared the following:


“I was impressed with the OOD Columbus Job Fair.  It was well organized, the staff were very supportive, and the job candidates were very well prepared.  Huntington Bank was excited to be able to meet so many job ready candidates in the course of an afternoon.”


Krista Haley, Employment Specialist at MaritzCX, had a similarly positive experience in Maumee and had this to say:


“MaritzCX is a proud supporter of OOD.  It was an amazing experience to see how many talented individuals came out to the Job fair.  We received over 40 interested candidates for our open position, which far exceeded our expectations.  The OOD Conference was very beneficial, providing vital information that will enable MaritzCX to grow into a better company. We are proud of the professional relationship we have built with OOD and look forward to working with them in the future.”


Over 180 employers have registered for these job fairs in order to connect with hundreds of job ready candidates.


As we Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), it is gratifying to see Ohio employers connecting with qualified job seekers with disabilities and learning how these candidates can meet their workforce needs.


DDD Adding Supervisors

Thanks to their continued excellent work, the Division of Disability Determination (DDD), has been able to add additional adjudicators.  As a result there is an increased need for supervisors.  DDD is pleased to have selected the following individuals from a talented field to become Disability Unit Supervisors:

  • Brooke Fishman
  • Cyndal Glass
  • Todd Gould
  • Ryan Townley

These individuals demonstrated a sincere commitment to public service and contributed greatly to our agency mission as Disability Claims Adjudicators, and we look forward to their leadership in providing outstanding customer service.

Job Ready Status by County

Individuals in Job Ready Status* Statewide: 3,829


(For larger map and county details please visit our website)

Job Ready Status by County

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

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