Weekly Focus, January 8, 2016

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

January 8, 2016

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:

Kroger: Champion of Opportunity

Kroger Champion of Opportunity
Pictured left to right: Cynthia Crews, Jon Hackathorn, Greg Dormer, Mark Fay, Tim Brown, president of the Cincinnati and Dayton Division of Kroger, Bill Bishilany, Susan Pugh, Jennifer Roeder, Kim Colyer.


Thursday, OOD had the pleasure of presenting the “Champion of Opportunity Award" to Kroger at the Oakley Marketplace, in Cincinnati. Kroger, founded in 1883 is now the country’s largest supermarket chain by revenue and the second-largest general retailer. They continue to be recognized for their commitment to, and leadership, in the integration of people with disabilities into the workforce.


During the award presentation, it was noted that since July 2014, Kroger has hired nearly 60 consumers from the Southwest Ohio OOD vocational rehabilitation program and has been an active participant in OOD-sponsored job fairs held in Cincinnati and Dayton. In addition, Kroger store managers serve on the local Business Advisory Councils in Southwest Ohio. In this capacity, the managers provide an employer’s perspective on hiring people with disabilities. Kroger also has overhauled its hiring procedures to include an exception process to specifically consider how candidates with disabilities can best navigate new procedures.


For years, Kroger has been among Ohio’s business leaders in hiring employees with disabilities to fulfill the company’s workforce demands. This Champion of Opportunity Award acknowledges Kroger’s leadership in hiring within this untapped labor market.


“Kroger is honored to be recognized with the Champion of Opportunity Award,” says Tim Brown, president of Kroger, Cincinnati/Dayton division. “Diversity and inclusion represent two of our core values and are deep-rooted in our culture. This award confirms Kroger’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse workplace. We are so proud of all of our outstanding associates who live our values and are committed to taking care of our customers and each other.”


The company employs nearly 400,000 people in its nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states. We are fortunate that the company’s headquarters and more than 200 stores are here in Ohio.


OOD is grateful for the ongoing support and dedication to a diverse workforce that Kroger promotes and we look forward to future associations with the company and its employees.

Community Centers for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Step up to Challenges

Ohio’s eight Community Centers for the Deaf (CCDs) host numerous events and provide services in all 88 counties. CCD staff communicates in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English, and understand the complexities of Deaf culture and literacy that can sometimes create barriers to employment. They serve as advocates for many OOD consumers.


A few examples of their services:


Youngstown: The Youngstown area was rocked by a house fire this March that took the lives of well-known and highly respected Deaf community leaders and their granddaughter. The staff of the Youngstown/Steubenville CCD stepped up to help the Deaf community with grief counseling and interpreting services. They also became the liaisons between the local authorities investigating the house fire and the two out of town children who are deaf. For the following two weeks, the Youngstown/Steubenville CCD provided many hours of pro bono interpreting services and support services to the family;


Dayton: Family Services has been engaged in a project with an African immigrant, who has relocated to the local community and needs assistance with communication. This individual is Deaf and skilled only in an African sign language, which prevents this person from communicating effectively even with those skilled in American Sign Language. Staff are helping this individual learn American Sign Language and discussing differences in the languages. Case managers are also assisting this person with community adjustment, including accessing benefits and supporting other personal needs. As additional needs are identified, staff will continue to connect this person with services within the Agency and community.


Besides the ASL group teaching that many CCD’s make available, they also continue to offer individual, one-to-one ASL instruction. The instruction is for those who need to learn this language themselves or for those who want to communicate with family members and need to learn these skills more quickly than a structured class might offer.


For more information about resources related to hearing loss and other deaf topics see: http://ood.ohio.gov/Programs/Community-Centers-for-the-Deaf/Deaf-Ohio-Resources. The list was developed by the Community Centers for the Deaf (CCDs) around Ohio.  Resources on advocacy organizations, communication methods, Deaf culture, education, health, technology, and other relevant areas are all in a searchable excel document.

Did You Know? EEOC Direct Video Access

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently launched a new service in December to enable individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL), to communicate directly with agency staff about issues of discrimination. EEOC information intake representatives who are fluent in ASL are now available to answer questions and guide callers through the process of filing a charge of discrimination using videophones.


Previously, individuals who are deaf and or hard of hearing relied on an interpreter using relay services when they contacted EEOC. This new system provides direct access to an EEOC employee who can answer the caller's question in ASL over a videophone. Deaf and hard of hearing callers can access the toll free ASL direct video line at 844-234-5122, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation

                                                                              Current            FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:                       3,621                1,832

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                                         1,913                1,722

(Employed, not yet successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                                    1,918

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 01/01/16)


Applications Received:                                               51,090


Determinations:                                                           54,123


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                          372.9

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)


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