Weekly Focus, September 4, 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

September 04, 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:

Historic Transition Services Partnership Moving Forward

Dirctor Miller Interagency Agreement
Director Miller signs the interagency agreement between OOD and ODE


A historic partnership between OOD and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) focused on the transition from school to work for students with disabilities (starting at age 14) is moving from conception to implementation; from an idea to a reality. 


This innovative collaboration will change the nature and impact of transition services for students with disabilities in Ohio. OOD counselors will actively participate in IEP team meetings and collaboratively plan with school transition staff and local partners to support transition planning for students. The program focuses on engaging students with disabilities in career exploration and skill development at a younger age, leading to improved employment outcomes.


We have been talking about, planning for, and preparing for this exciting project since I was appointed in 2011.  We offered proposals in discussions with stakeholders and policy makers over numerous budget cycles.  We explained its importance and potential impact throughout this year’s biennial budget process. We began planning for its implementation as the budget process continued. However, local school districts needed to embrace this change.


Now we are making this important program a reality.  The agencies have worked together to develop a plan for where and how the counselors would be deployed to best serve students.  Counselors have been brought onboard and training has begun.  A kickoff event is planned for September 17 with an all-day training session for OOD and education staff.


An important milestone that highlights this transition from idea to reality took place when I signed the interagency agreement between OOD and ODE. Twenty-six counselors will now be assigned to each Career Technical Planning District to develop ground level planning with parents and educators for greater employment outcomes.


I sign my name to hundreds of documents a month, but this will change the way Ohio connects with students with disabilities.  It will stress a greater emphasis on putting these students on a path to employment, a career and ultimately to finding purpose and independence.  I am excited about what this means as an agency director, but also as a father of a high school junior with autism who has never been asked about his career goals.


Look for more news about the launch of this historic partnership in the weeks to come.


Vocational Rehabilitation Making an Impact

This has also been a historic year for the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program here at OOD.  With the federal fiscal year (FFY) winding down, VR has met or exceeded some critical goals.


Closures: As an agency we have achieved over 5,000 closures for the year, exceeding our goal of 4,695.  This is the highest number of closures since 2010. Additionally, all four OOD regions and our Employment First counselors, as well as the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Erie-Ottawa ADAMH and Miami-Darke-Shelby MHRS teams have exceeded their closure goals for the year.


Application to Eligibility: As we noted last week, we have reached a significant milestone in the average time from application for services to an eligibility decision.  Four years ago we set the seemingly impossible goal of 30 days from application to eligibility; half the federal benchmark of 60 days and more than a quarter of our 129 day average in 2011.  The average last month was 30.3, and our current rolling average is at 30 days!


Thanks again to our staff and local partners for all they have done to improve our systems to better serve Ohioans.  It is making a real difference in people’s lives.

Improving the Bottom Line –

Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

Next week, I will be presenting at the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board. As a new appointee, the board felt there was an opportunity to introduce OOD to business leaders focused on workforce issues in Ohio.  The presentation, “Improving Your Bottom Line – Hiring Individuals with Disabilities,” will outline OOD’s mission and why hiring individuals with disabilities benefits businesses. Jeremy Shapira, Senior Director and Human Resources Business Partner for Market District and GetGo (Giant Eagle), will be co-presenting.


I am excited about the opportunity to increase awareness of the mission and vision of OOD and more importantly, connect the business community with the workforce potential of individuals with disabilities.  As Giant Eagle can attest, hiring individuals with disabilities is not just the “right” thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.

Job Status by County

Individuals in Job Ready Status* Statewide: 3,839


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


Job Status by Cunty

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

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