Weekly Focus - April 22, 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 22, 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:

Achieving Community Employment

Employment First Logo


Bryon Hayes knew he wanted to work in the community but he also knew that as an individual with developmental disabilities there would be challenges.  His verbal delays presented unique challenges in customer service situations, arranging transportation and in other factors.  He came to Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) as part of the Employment First Partnership with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.  This statewide initiative supports job seekers who seek to transition from facility-based work and non-work settings (sheltered workshops, enclaves, adult day support programs or residential settings), to competitive integrated employment.


To gain experience and get a better sense of what work environment might be best, Bryon completed a Community Based Assessment (CBA) at The Andersons general store in Toledo.  He excelled in a stocking position as part of an evening/night crew.  He worked well with his peers, had a supportive supervisor and was able to perform his assigned duties effectively.  Immediately after this great experience, he was offered a position at The Andersons last fall.


Faced with this exciting opportunity, Bryon still faced challenges.  He wanted to take advantage of overtime and figure out his own work schedule, so Bryon participated in a benefit analysis to help him make the best financial decisions and understand the impact of working on his benefits and incentives.


Transportation was also a challenge as communication barriers, and the schedule he worked, made an always important issue even more difficult.  However, he was able to work together with his team to arrange transportation to and from work; Bryon’s mom and co-workers, also pitch in when needed.


Thanks to Bryon’s commitment and the efforts of his team, he now works in an integrated community employment setting.  He has been employed at The Andersons since last October and his case was successfully closed at the end of February.  The Andersons have found Bryon to be an excellent employee.  "He works hard and is an easy going colleague who often has a huge smile on his face."  He continues to be an asset to his team and has made many friends working in the community.


This is what the Employment First Partnership is all about!


OOD Commission and Governor’s Council Meet

Disability Inclusion Panel 04202016
Karis Spence, Sarah Eleck and Terra Metzger participate in the Disability Inclusion Panel at Wednesday's OOD Commission meeting


The OOD Commission and the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities (GCPD) both met this week for their bi-monthly meetings.  As noted in the last Weekly Focus, the Commission hosted a panel on disability inclusion with representatives from Huntington Bank, American Electric Power and The Ohio State University.  Holly Antos who, in addition to her work at AEP, is currently vice president of the Ohio Business Leadership Network (OHBLN), spoke about providing OHBLN members with the most up to date information on disability inclusion practices.  Sarah Eleck and Karis Spence shared the effects of Huntington’s Employer Resource Group for Disability Inclusion and its impact on Huntington’s corporate culture.  Terra Metzger shared information about Ohio State’s self-identification campaign for workers with disabilities and its connection to Section 503 rules for federal contractors.


The GCPD  held their meeting at the Vern Riffe Center in Downtown Columbus and were pleased to have Senator Bill Beagle and Representative Jeffery Rezabeck visit, along with a member of  Representative Doug Green’s office.  In addition to their regular business, the council heard a presentation on transportation issues from Derek Mortland, ADA and Community Outreach Coordinator, from The Center for Disability Empowerment.


Thank you to the Commissioners and GCPD members for all you do to support individuals with disabilities in Ohio.


Social Security Administration Regional Visit

Phyllis Smith, regional commissioner, Janet Walker, deputy regional commissioner and Jim Jamison, disability program administrator, from the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Chicago Region traveled to Columbus to meet with our leadership team.


Among the topics were DDD’s strong performance during the last fiscal year and the challenges in the current and coming years.


SSA has asked Ohio to complete over 200,000 disability determinations for Ohioans including a record number of Continuing Disability Review claims.  DDD is also preparing to be an early adopter state for SSA’s new Disability Case Management System, and is processing all staff and consultants through the federal credentialing process.  The Regional Commissioner commended DDD and OOD on managing these challenges and offered their support to assist in providing quality customer service to Ohioans who seek a disability determination from OOD.


SSA Visit Mica Sparks
Erik Williamson, Phyllis Smith, Mica Sparks, and Janet Walker


While in Columbus, Commissioner Smith paused to present several staff members with Regional Commissioners Citations for their accomplishments, hard work, and dedication to public service. Smith said that, “The commitment to public service and accomplishments of the awardees are truly noteworthy. I am proud to be part of such a great group of people.” Receiving the awards were: Mica Sparks and the Case Control Unit. I echo the comments of the Commissioner and join with your colleagues in congratulating each of you on this well-deserved recognition. 


State of Washington’s Lean Team Visits OOD

On Wednesday, I was pleased to welcome to OOD Renee Smith Nyberg, director, and Darrell Damron, assistant director, from the State of Washington’s Lean Transformation – Enterprise Services Office.  The team, hosted by Tim Krall and LeanOhio,  visited our Performance Innovation Center (PIC) where they observed yellow belt training for our supervisors. OOD has been on the forefront of operationalizing Lean Six Sigma into our agency culture, so it was a pleasure to share with them our experience and learn from the experience of the State of Washington.


Nisonger Center Playground Grand Reopening

Nisonger Playground 04212016
Director Miller participates in the ribbon cutting for the Nisonger Playground


Yesterday, I was able to join local officials, project donors, volunteers, community partners, faculty, staff and children, as we celebrated the completion of the Nisonger Center’s universally accessible playground for children with disabilities.  The playground is part of the center’s early childhood education program.


It was great to help cut the ribbon, see the playground and tour the facilities with Dr. Marc Tasse.  The Nisonger Center is a great partner in serving individuals with disabilities in Ohio.


Did you know? The Nisonger Center at 50

Nisonger Center 50th

The Nisonger Center was founded 50 years ago in 1966, as an interdisciplinary program of The Ohio State University.  The U.S. Administration on Developmental Disabilities has designated Nisonger Center a "University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities" (UCEDD).  The Nisonger Center is part of a network of 67 University Centers of Excellence.  Each state has at least one such UCE.


Their mission is to work with communities to value and support the meaningful participation of people with disabilities of all ages through education, service and research.  The center provides assistance to people with disabilities, families, service providers and organizations to promote inclusion in education, health, employment and community settings.

OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation


                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:        3,405                          3,874

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                          1,863                         3,635

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                              3,836

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 04/01/2016 – Week 27)


Applications Received:                                                            109,929


Determinations:                                                                        112,904


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                       378.3

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

Return to Top