Weekly Focus - April 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

April 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:

WSCC staff SotS 2016
OOD Staff at Washington State Community College for the 2016 State of the State

State of the State 2016 – Marietta

On Wednesday, in anticipation of Governor John Kasich’s State of the State address that evening, cabinet directors and staff spent the day in Marietta highlighting the positive impact state agencies are making in Southeast Ohio.


OOD enjoyed a great day of events highlighting the variety of ways we seek to accomplish our mission of quality employment and increased independence for individuals with disabilities.  The events illustrated the many different ways OOD impacts the community.  A few examples include: business engagement and disability awareness training for local businesses; vocational rehabilitation and job retention services with students at WSCC; post-secondary education and training; the Business Enterprise Program; and the Employment First partnership with DODD at a Kroger in Marietta.


See below for details on these events and be sure to visit our Facebook photo album for more photos.

Disability Awareness Training & Employer Toolkit

Disability Awareness Training SotS 2016
Kelly Jordan and Jon Hackathorn lead disability awreness training at Washington State Community College


We began the morning at Washington State Community College (WSCC) with a disability awareness training being presented to local employers.  WSCC was then recognized for the critical role they play in workforce development.  We highlighted the impact our programs are having in Marietta through the testimonials of individuals who have benefited from OOD services. 


Jon Hackathorn, OOD Business Relations Manager, and Kelly Jordan, OOD Business Sourcing Analyst, presented disability awareness training to Marietta employers.  They also offered an overview of the Employer Toolkit developed in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as part of the implementation of the Workforce Integration Task Force recommendations.  In addition to local employers, we were excited to have members of the Marietta city council and the president of the Marietta Chamber of Commerce participate in the workshop.

Washington State Community College: A Great Partner

WSCC Award SotS 2016
Director Kevin Miller, Amanda K. Herb, Vice President of Enrollment & Student Success at WSCC, and Dave Vandenberg, WSCC Board of Trustees


We also took a moment to recognize Washington State Community College (WSCC) for being such a valuable partner in Marietta and Southeast Ohio.  Amanda K. Herb, Vice President of Enrollment & Student Success at WSCC, and Dave Vandenberg, a member of the Board of Trustees, were on hand to accept an award from OOD as well as letters of commendation from both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.


The testimonial session that followed, highlighted the variety of ways WSCC and OOD partner to serve individuals with disabilities: 

  • Dave Cunningham, the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) vending operator on campus, spoke about the impact and opportunities of being a small business owner through the BE program and revealed his new vending machines that were rebranded & updated with new marketing.
  • Steve Thomas, Marietta City Councilman and adjunct professor at WSCC, spoke about how OOD assisted him in continuing to work as his vision loss increased.  He also reflected on how his participation in OOD’s Consumer Advisory Committee inspired him get involved with city council.
  • Susan Pugh, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, highlighted how education and work are often connected.  Scott Havens graduated with an Associates of Applied Business degree in Computer Graphics from WSCC in 2014.  That same year he accepted a position as a Marketing Assistant with WSCC.  In this role he helps with the creation of advertising materials, manages social media accounts and works with co-workers to develop new marketing strategies. 
  • Susan also noted the importance of focusing on in-demand jobs and the training that is needed to succeed in those fields.  Six current WSCC students receiving OOD services were on hand to illustrate this important element.  These students are pursuing careers in cybersecurity, accounting, financial services, radiology and respiratory therapy.

These testimonials were a perfect illustration of not only the impact of OOD at WSCC, and the importance of the partnership, but also of the diversity of career paths individuals with disabilities may take to find success.

WSCC SotS BEP 2016
Dave Cunningham and his wife with BEP staff at WSCC

Business Enterprise Program Features New Branding and Marketing

As mentioned previously, Dave Cunningham is the BEP operator at WSCC.  BEP provides entrepreneurial opportunities in vending and food service for individuals who are blind or visually impaired in government buildings and at roadside rest stops.


While on the WSCC campus we were able to see the new branding and marketing being developed for the BEP.  The vending machines were “wrapped” with the design and logo of the program and clearly communicated the connection between the machines and OOD.  During our visit we were able to speak with students about the program.  Few had made the connection between the vending machines and BEP until the change in branding and our visit.  It was great to educate the students on the impact this business could have in the community.


BEP Branding WSCC SotS 2016


Dave is a small business operator who has embraced technology in ways that benefit students and his business.  In particular, Dave requested (and OOD/ BEP provided) credit/debit card readers to be placed on all of his vending machines.  This new system allows Dave to track sales from home, saving him time and travel expenses.  The new technology allows Dave to utilize a “non-cash” pay App (Pay Range) on campus.  This system allows students, who may not have a debit or credit card, to use a payment App on their smart phone to purchase drinks and snacks. 

Career Center Supt SotS 2016
Superintendent Dennis Blatt and Director Miller at The Career Center

The Career Center of Washington County

Along with key staff from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), we visited The Career Center of Washington County to learn more about how they prepare students, including individuals with disabilities, for careers.  We also discussed the Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP) between OOD and ODE aimed at more effectively assisting students with disabilities transition from school to work.


Career Center Chemistry SotS 2016

It was exciting to see how The Career Center aligns with the vision of OOD and OTSP.  Career Center Superintendent Dennis Blatt and his staff clearly have a passion for helping students successfully move from school to work.  Like OOD, they are focused on in-demand jobs and helping students gain the skills and experience needed to obtain employment and begin a successful career.  A significant portion of their student body is individuals with disabilities but they are integrated into the classroom and program with great success.  We look forward to finding ways to increase our collaboration and partnership with The Career Center as part of OTSP.


Kroger – A Commitment to Employment First

Kroger EF SotS 2016
Director John Martin, DODD, Gary Coleman, store manager, Melanie Brown, Kroger employee, and Director Miller

Our last stop was at the Kroger in Marietta where we recognized the store for its commitment to the Employment First partnership between OOD and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD).  Director John Martin and I thanked the store manager, Gary Coleman, for his commitment to hiring individuals based on their abilities, not disabilities.  Kroger Employee Melanie Brown has worked at Kroger for 15 months and loves her job.


Kroger is committed to providing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, said Gary Coleman, manager of the Marietta store; “we fill jobs based on ability.”  Coleman echoed what other companies have said about hiring individuals with disabilities, they make excellent employees.  “They are dedicated, dependable and trustworthy” he added.


Kroger has been a great partner with OOD and with the Employment First partnership.  They offer a variety of employment opportunities and usually have openings to fit the skills of persons with disabilities and encourage them to apply for jobs.  Kroger participates in their training and works with their job coach.  Kroger also offers tuition reimbursement for education.


Did you know? April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.  During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention, awareness strategies and activities and promote prevention across the country.  To raise awareness, ODJFS and the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund are organizing a pinwheel selfie campaign.  For more information on this campaign please visit the ODJFS website at http://www.jfs.ohio.gov/octf/CAPM.stm.

OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation


                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:        3,441                         3,626

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                          1,802                         3,376

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                              3,639

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 04/01/2016 – Week 27)


Applications Received:                                                            101,768


Determinations:                                                                        104,514


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                       376.2

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

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