Weekly Focus - May 20, 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 20, 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:

Canton Job Fair a Success

Canton Job Fair 05182016


More than 150 job applicants and 25 employers attended OOD’s “Expect, Employ, Empower” Job Fair held in North Canton on Wednesday.  The tenor of the event was upbeat and positive with many  having made key contacts, that could lead to future job opportunities.


Job seekers came with a wide variety of work experiences and were able to speak with recruiters, many seeking to fill current job openings.  For some job seekers, the event was an opportunity for a screening interview that may result in a call-back interview.  Others were able to present resumes for review or feedback to learn first-hand, how the online selection process occurs for each company.


Some of the companies participating in the fair included: American Electric Power, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Fifth-Third Bank, CVS, Speedway, Dollar Bank, The Social Security Administration, Fastenal, Land O’Lakes, Nickels Bakery, SA Comunale, Data Solutions, Verizon, Game Stop, Home Depot, Cardinal Health, Huntington Bank, and Kent State University.


Several recruiters commented about how many people they were able to meet at this job fair – estimating 10 times more than they meet at other job fairs.


“The job candidates have been very enthusiastic at this job fair.  It has gone very well from a recruiting standpoint.  In fact, I met someone today that I am excited to call tomorrow to explore future employment possibilities with Fifth-Third,” said LaToya Smith, Human Resource Representative, Fifth-Third Bank


Feedback from employers was also particularly positive about lessons learned from the Windmills training (an interactive training program designed to enhance awareness of cultural diversity, examine personal attitudes and biases toward people with disabilities) that kicked off the event.  Described as “eye-opening” and helpful, recruiters indicated that they were able to immediately apply what they had learned to the job fair that followed.


Michele Thompson and Michelle Skoletsky, Human Resources Representatives from Land O’ Lakes, Inc., had a great experience in Canton:


“We have met more than 50 job seekers at today’s event. The candidates have been really well-prepared and this has been an overall excellent experience for our company. We may have had a match for one of our open positions and we look forward to recruiting at a similar event in the future.”


A big thanks to all the employers who attended and to the OOD staff who worked to make the event a success.

Small Business Committee Highlights Disability Inclusion

House Small Business Committee
Representative Steve Chabot with witnesses from Thursday's hearing


The House Small Business Committee, chaired by Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH), held a hearing yesterday titled, “Help Wanted: Small Business Providing Opportunities for All.”  The hearing was an opportunity for entrepreneurs to share their experience in providing employment opportunities for adults with autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual or developmental disorders, syndromes, or disabilities.


“For adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities or disorders, finding sustaining employment can be a real challenge,” said Chairman Chabot.  “These individuals can be overlooked when employment opportunities arise, and too often they are shut out from the workplace all together.  Yet across the country, we are seeing examples of how small businesses, with their ability to adapt and accommodate, are able to provide employment opportunities to those who might not otherwise get a chance.”


Terri Hogan, owner of Contemporary Cabinetry East in Cincinnati, OH, shared her experience as a small business owner with the committee. 


“We need to educate others so they begin to take the “dis” out of disabilities and replace it with ‘abilities,’ said Hogan.  “We also need to make small businesses aware of the huge untapped resource that is people with diverse abilities.  Hiring people who are physically, genetically or cognitively diverse is not just the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.”


She was accompanied by Mike Ames, an employee who has Down syndrome.


“Mike has raised morale, brought community awareness, caused others to have broader perspectives and has developed many friends at CCE.  For the business, Mike has helped to develop a healthier ‘bottom line’; everyone works harder because of the example he sets.  Mike has raised everyone’s standards at Contemporary Cabinetry East and hiring Mike was the best business decision I have ever made,” Hogan testified.


For more information visit the Small Business Committee website at http://smallbusiness.house.gov/.  You can also watch the hearing on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfSv4nUqwI0.


VR Training for New Counselors/Coordinators and Caseload Assistants

OOD welcomed a new class of Counselors/Contract Coordinators and Caseload Assistants during its VR Training Program this month.  The class is comprised of 11 individuals who include 7 counselors, 1 caseload assistant, and 3 coordinators.  The intense training has been revamped from years past to include a variety of teaching methods as well as updated information.


In addition to the traditional classroom style education, training now includes shadowing experiences, group discussions, and GoToTrainings.  Participants will have 3 weeks of intensive VR training which include two days each week in Central Office and at least one day in the field shadowing and another portion of the day participating in GoToTrainings and other discussions/meetings.


After the initial 3 weeks, training continues via additional GoToTrainings, and additional meetings and assignments that are monitored in the field. By using different training modalities, participants are able to better retain information which in turn makes them better prepared for their respective positions.  The ability to update and enhance past trainings are due in large part to the vocational rehabilitation training supervisors, the many OOD staff members who are willing to take the time to train our new staff, and additional support from the VR Policy and Training Unit. 


VR Training for new Counselors, Contract Coordinators and Caseload Assistants will continue to evolve as new information and updated technology is available.


2016 NDEAM Theme Announced

To reflect the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced this week, that the theme of 2016’s official National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is “#InclusionWorks.”


Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign celebrating the skills and talents of workers with disabilities.  Led nationally by ODEP, NDEAM’s true spirit lies in the many grassroots observances held nationwide every year.  Each spring, the theme for each year’s celebration is announced to help organizations and groups plan their events.


Look for information on OOD’s celebration of NDEAM in the coming months.


Did you know? Early Engagement Paying Off

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) places added emphasis for the Vocational Rehabilitation program on services to students and youth with disabilities.  OOD’s Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP) with the Ohio Department of Education supports this priority.  More than 2,500 students are being served through the partnership and caseloads are growing! 


Earlier engagement in the VR process has been a critical element of OOD’s strategic vision for the past several years.  Specifically, our goal has been to begin VR services at age 14, the earliest age allowed under WIOA.  While this has been an area of emphasis, our number of applicants at 14 and 15 has remained low. 

Since the inception of the OTSP program in September, however, we have seen much better progress in this area.  While we have seen a 40.63% increase in applicants aged 14 to 18 since October 1, the greatest percentage increases have been at age 14 (118% increase) and 15 (103% increase).  


OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation


                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:        3,360                          4,376

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                          1,948                         4,144

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                              4,250

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 04/29/2016 – Week 31)


Applications Received:                                                            126,191


Determinations:                                                                        128,061


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                       376.6

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

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