Weekly Focus, August 21, 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

August 21, 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:

CEVEC Jergens Ribbon Cutting


Jergens, Inc. and CEVEC Job Training Program

Yesterday we traveled to Cleveland for a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the job training partnership between Jergens, Inc., Mayfield City Schools, and Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Consortium (CEVEC).  This innovative program provides onsite training for students with disabilities in advanced manufacturing and a path to a career in this exciting in-demand field.


The ceremony took place in Jergens’ state of the art 130,000 square foot facility in Cleveland which also serves as the classroom for the students participating in the program.  Jack Schron, Jr., President of Jergens, spoke, as a third generation business owner, about the importance  of connecting the thriving manufacturing industry in Cleveland with local education and the community.


Director Miller at CEVEC Jergens Ribbon Cutting

 I was excited to speak as both an agency director and as a father about the importance of connecting business and education with career planning and for training students with disabilities.  Ohio has recognized that we must have earlier conversations with our children about careers and employment and we must align the education system to provide guidance and training that will position them to explore, and succeed in, their chosen career path.


The CEVEC Jergens partnership, which connects students with a disability with business and education, is a perfect example of the type of relationships we are seeking to facilitate here at OOD.  It is also in alignment with the new partnership between OOD and the Ohio Department of Education focused on transition youth.  This partnership will involve OOD counselors having a stronger presence in schools and districts across Ohio in order to assist students with disabilities in transitioning from school to employment.

Jack Schron Jergens CEVEC Ribbon Cutting
Jack Schron, Presdient of Jergens, Inc., at the ribbon cutting on Thursday


The importance of this approach was noted by those attending the ribbon cutting. In addition to Jack Schron and Saevar Thodarson, Quality Assurance Manager at Jergens, State Senator Kenny Yuko, Dr. Keith Kelly, Superintendent of Mayfield City Schools, and representatives from the offices of Governor John Kasich, Senator Rob Portman, and Senator Sherrod Brown offered remarks.


After the ribbon cutting, we were able to tour the impressive Jergens facilities.  The focus on quality, precision, and lean manufacturing was clear in everything they do, as was their commitment to workforce development and a clean, safe work environment.  Advance manufacturing is alive and well in Northeast Ohio.  What a great opportunity these students will have to learn a trade at an international leader in the industry.


The CEVEC mission statement of Educate-Empower-Employ perfectly defines this program and the focus on transition youth moving forward.  Thanks again to everyone who made yesterday’s event such a success. I can’t wait to see this program succeed and expand.

Commissioners Awards Recipients

At their 2015 Retreat (August 5th and 6th), the Commissioners selected this year’s award winners.  Stephanie Ravak of Columbus Goodwill was selected as the recipient of the Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award which recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact on improving the employment possibilities of Ohioans with disabilities consistent with OOD’s mission.  Stephanie is a tireless advocate for students with intellectual disabilities receiving quality work experience and job opportunities by mentoring, coaching and teaching.  


The Commissioners also selected Jenny Ferguson of the Hancock County Board of Developmental Disabilities as the recipient of the Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award.  This award recognizes individuals who provide outstanding services to Ohioans with disabilities to make their participation in society more meaningful.  Jenny takes time and listens to everyone with a philosophy based on exceptional customer service for each individual.  By supporting community integration opportunities, including employment, she has supported each person as they seek to achieve their goals, earn a living, make friends and give back to the community.


Both individuals will be recognized at the Commissioners’ October 21, 2015 meeting in Columbus.


Congratulations to Stephanie and Jenny!

Commissioners at YLF
Commission Chair Jacquie Romer-Sensky and Commissioner Jack Licate participate in a mentoring session

Mentoring at YLF

Mentoring is a critical part of leadership development at the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF). Attendees were able to receive advice and feedback from mentors in a wide variety of careers ranging from veterinary science, janitorial, food services, graphic design, public service, business, legal and communications.


This year, YLF was fortunate to have both OOD Commissioners and Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) members participate in the mentoring program for YLF and offer their wide-ranging perspectives to delegates.


Thanks again to the Commission and CAC members for making YLF even better in 2015.

Juanita Hill, CAC Statewide Member, Dr. Carolyn Peters, CAC Chair, and Shonda Causey, ex-officio CAC member,

Job Ready Status by County

Individuals in Job Ready Status* Statewide: 3,861


(For larger map and county details please click here)


Job Ready Status by County

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

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