Weekly Focus - May 6, 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

May 6, 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:

Community Employment – Finding the Right Fit

Individuals with disabilities face unique challenges and circumstance as they seek to find integrated community employment.  Many of the challenges they face however, are similar to those that any job seeker faces.  Everyone wants to find a job  that matches their skill set and personality; provides a supportive environment; and  an income that makes independence and family stability possible.  To accomplish this they may need training to update their skills or have to overcome transportation barriers. Finally, they will need to work through the job search process to find an opportunity that meets their needs.  Once employed, they will need to adjust to the unique challenges of that job, get comfortable with coworkers and supervisors, etc.


Jeb McFarlin came to OOD last year, on a referral from the Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities, with many of these challenges in front of him.  He wanted a job where he was appreciated and respected for the work that he did.  He wanted to be able to support his family and be independent.


So he began working with his team to update his skills as needed and create a career plan.  With this accomplished, he started applying for jobs through OhioMeansJobs.  He also needed to solve his transportation challenges, so he met with a driving instructor and participated in driver’s education.  Soon he was able to pass the driver’s training course and obtain his license.  With that success, Jeb and his wife were able to purchase a vehicle and thus meet their own transportation needs.


All this planning and work paid off when Jeb was hired at Menards in a part-time janitorial position.  From the first day, Jeb felt that this was the right job for him.  In just a few weeks he was offered a full time position.  Menards provided their own training but Jeb worked with his job coach before and after work to enhance his abilities and performance.


Ultimately, both employer and employee are pleased with the outcome.  Menards has a dependable and hardworking employee.  Jeb has a job that he enjoys and an income that allows him to provide for his family and live independently.


Helping individuals achieve quality employment and increased independence is the mission of OOD.  Jeb’s success highlights the importance of giving Ohioans this opportunity and the benefit it brings to our communities.


Leonard Johnson 25 years BEP
left to right, Todd Heitkamp, BE Consultant, Leonard Johnson, Operator, Christy Hauck, BE Program Manager, Adam Kieffer, BE Area Manager, and Mindy Duncan, Deputy Director, BSVI.

Business Enterprise Program Holds Annual Statewide Conference

The Business Enterprise Program within the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI), provides people who are legally blind with employment opportunities.  It is an opportunity to be a manager and operator of food service facilities, often in government buildings and at roadside rest stops.  As part of the ongoing support and partnership between the program and those food service managers and operators, a conference is held each year to foster continued personal and professional development, information sharing, and problem solving. 


This year’s conference was April 29-30, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here in Columbus.  Attendance at this year’s conference maintained last year’s record participation which included the attendance of five new trainees.  Presenters at this year’s conference covered topics such as:  Social Security, Food and Drug Administration labeling requirements, credit card vendor services, healthy vending, marketing, assistive technology, and finding employees within OOD consumer caseloads (presented by our own Nate Fernandes).  The entire agenda was chosen by the operators attending last year’s conference. 


Additionally, 12 operators were recognized for their length of service to the program; including Richard Bird with 30 years; Lenny Johnson and Yvette Shackleford who both have 25 years of service.  Feedback received from participants indicates the conference was well-received and beneficial for their business.


Work Opportunity Tax Credit Extended through 2019

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program, designed to encourage employers to hire and retain individuals referred from vocational rehabilitation programs, and other people from groups with employment barriers was reauthorized through December 31, 2019.  President Obama signed WOTC into law on December 18, 2015, as an omnibus spending and tax package.  Employers claim about $1 billion in tax credits each year under the program.


“For the first time in several years WOTC has been authorized for more than a one year period,” said OOD’s Business Relations Manager Jon Hackathorn.  “We are going to use this extended time period to engage with employers and let them know of this additional benefit of hiring a qualified worker referred to them by OOD.”


Our partner agency, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), who administers WOTC in Ohio, will be providing us marketing material to share with employers so they know how to enroll in WOTC to access the credit.  All available procedures and forms to apply for WOTC can be found at http://jfs.ohio.gov/wotc/index.stm.


Older Americans Month

Did you know? May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month, a time when we celebrate the contributions and the lives of our Golden Buckeyes.  Older Americans Month is also a time when we recognize the many Ohioans who care for and serve our elders and ensure that they have opportunities to grow, thrive and contribute.

Ohio has 2.5 million residents over the age of 60 and our 60-plus population is growing more than 20 times faster than our overall population.  Together, older adults and baby boomers represent more than 40 percent of Ohio's population today.  More information is available from The Ohio Department of Aging.

OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation


                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:        3,377                          4,138

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                          1,955                         3,924

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                              4,027

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 04/29/2016 – Week 31)


Applications Received:                                                            118,117


Determinations:                                                                        120,165


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                       376.7

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

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