Weekly Focus: Students with Disabilities to Benefit from New Collaboration

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 18, 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:

Students with Disabilities to Benefit From New Collaboration

Director Martin OTSP

Yesterday marked another milestone in the implementation of the Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP).  Over one hundred participants from multiple agencies attended an all-day training session for this exciting collaboration.  Director John L. Martin (pictured right), from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), and Jo Hannah Ward, Assistant Director from the Office for Exceptional Children at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), helped kick off the training.


I was thrilled to be able to welcome these professionals and to talk about our vision for students with disabilities and their families across Ohio.  I shared my own experience as a father of a son with autism along with what the data tells us about the long term impact of successful employment.  I noted the critical connection between employment, higher income and a higher quality of life.  This is why it is so critical that this partnership between schools, OOD counseling staff and parents succeeds in changing lives.


As part of the training yesterday, participants were also briefed on national and state issues impacting transition, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by presenter Dr. David Test, Co-Director, of the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT).


OTSP Presenters 09172015
Director Miller, David Hoff and Dr. Robert Baer at Thursday's OTSP training


David Hoff, program director at the Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts-Boston, presented on the Transition Vision for Ohio which offered guidance from the Ohio Employment First Taskforce on best practices in serving students and youth with disabilities. Dr. Robert Baer and Dr. Rachel McMahan Queen, from Kent State University, discussed the Ohio Longitudinal Transition Study (OLTS) and state perspectives on transition.


In addition, Crystal Hutzel, OOD counselor, and Sue Spradlin, Transition Support Coordinator at Great Oaks Career Campuses, conducted an interactive session explaining how they have helped implement a similar transition model in the Cincinnati area.  They highlighted their collaboration and roles in planning and service delivery in both the VR and education systems.  


In the future, I hope this day will be looked upon as a transformational date in how students with disabilities find success after graduation.

OTSP Quick Facts

What is OTSP? 

The Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP) is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and OOD to improve post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities, beginning at age 14. This innovative collaboration changes the nature and impact of transition services for students with disabilities in Ohio.  The new model will help students with disabilities get a head start on becoming job ready and better prepared, with the skills necessary to be successful in today’s workforce.

The OTSP Impact:

  • Funds 26 Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors and 13 Caseload Assistants. They will have an increased presence in career technical planning districts (CTPDs), and other local education agencies, statewide by being embedded in those locations.
  • Expands access for students with disabilities to engage in career exploration and skill development at a younger age, launching them on a path to career success and independence. 
  • VR Counselors will be involved in Individual Education Program (IEP) team meetings ensuring cross-agency planning and earlier career preparation. 
  • Improves collaboration between VR Counselors, students with disabilities, their families, educators and other local partners to provide person-centered vocational guidance, counseling and employment services.
  • Provides students, families and school personnel with up-to-date, in-demand career information needed to ensure high quality employment outcomes.
  • Improves strategies to ensure that students with disabilities secure employment prior to graduation and connect with long-term supports services when needed and available, to ensure long term success.
  • Increases partnering between OOD staff and ODE State Support Teams to build capacity across the state to enhance transition services.

Who is eligible to participate?   

Students with disabilities ages 14-21, who are receiving services under an IEP, meet OOD eligibility criteria and who demonstrate a need for VR services are eligible for OTSP.


What types of services are available?

This model utilizes a person-centered and outcome-focused approach to comprehensive career planning that is based on established evidence based predictors of success.  It is a progressive service delivery model designed to increase independence and career readiness.  While a full range of VR services are available, service provision is based on data driven decisions and is designed to meet people where they are on their unique path to employment.  Typical services may include:    

  • Career Exploration
  • Authentic Work-Based Learning Experiences in Integrated Settings
  • Soft Skills Curriculum Promoting Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy Skills
  • Job Development and Job Coaching Services

Job Status by County

Individuals in Job Ready Status* Statewide: 3,858


(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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