Weekly Focus January 13, 2017

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

January 13, 2017

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:

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities' 2016 Accomplishments

Director Miller


Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) accomplished many milestones in 2016. “I am very proud of staff for all of their hard work in 2016 and look forward to continued successes in 2017,” said OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller.


Listed below are some of those achievements that have benefitted Ohioans with disabilities to find or retain employment and to live independently.

Launched a New Job Portal Website



OOD launched a new job portal called OODWorks.com. The site allows potential consumers to learn about OOD’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services and complete an online application. This provides a more streamlined process in their pursuit of employment. Individuals interested in VR services are encouraged to visit the portal where they can watch an orientation video about the employment process, take a brief self-assessment and apply online.  

Strengthened and Advanced Business Engagement Efforts

lady in green dress
Pictured above are job seeker Cat Banks (left) and OOD Counselor Mary Massie at the Columbus job fair. Cat was thrilled to get hired by an employer at the job fair.


Job Fairs Matched Job Seekers with Disabilities Directly with Employers

OOD hosted our third annual series of regional job fairs for OOD job seekers. These job fairs provided job seekers with disabilities opportunities to connect with numerous employers. More than 759 job seekers attended and 179 employers set up booths to advertise employment opportunities in four job fairs across the state. Numerous job seekers have been hired because of the networking and connections made at these events. The job fairs also increased awareness with employers about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities through a Windmills educational workshop. It details a formula to assist businesses with the recruitment of a diverse workforce.


Increased Membership in the Ohio Business Leadership Network

Membership in the Ohio Business Leadership Network (OHBLN) grew to more than 100 businesses committed to employing individuals with disabilities. OOD successfully implemented a business engagement model through a private-public collaborative partnership with OHBLN employer partners funded by a Poses Family Foundation grant. Known as the Workplace Initiative of Ohio, this business engagement model resulted in 490 OOD job seekers gaining employment with OOD’s employer partners. This model has been recognized and promoted nationally as a best practice by the Poses Family Foundation as a way to better engage and support employers.


Recognized Employers with Opportunity Awards

OOD recognized the outstanding work of Ohio companies committed to providing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities through its third annual Opportunity Awards. These include:

  • Champion of Opportunity Award for companies that have gone above and beyond and who serve as statewide examples of what it means to provide quality employment opportunities and increase independence for individuals with disabilities.
  • Committed to Opportunity Award for companies with a proven commitment to integrating individuals with disabilities into their workforce.
  • Creating Opportunity Award for companies who have recently begun hiring individuals with disabilities.

The 2016 Champion of Opportunity Award honorees were CVS, Huntington National Bank, Meijer and Sauder Woodworking Company. For more information about the Opportunity Awards and to see a list of employer recipients, visit http://www.ood.ohio.gov/Employers/Opportunity-Awards.

Performance and Results: The Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Division of Disability Determination

OOD’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program achieved another year of improved performance and results in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016. These improvements included a:

  • 6.5% increase in applicants
  • 9.7% increase in individuals determined eligible for VR services
  • 9.5% increase in initial employment plans written
  • growth of 1,121 job seekers receiving VR services
  • 17.7% increase in the number of competitive rehabilitations achieved (which includes a 30.3% increase for individuals with visual impairments)
  • decrease in the time it takes to rehabilitation by 3.4 months 

OOD’s Division of Disability Determination (DDD) program exceeded production goals in FFY 2016 by processing 201,783 disability claims and completing over 10,000 more cases for Ohioans than the previous year. DDD continues to be a top performing state in the Chicago Region and maintains one of the lowest cost-per-case in the nation. DDD reduced the time to process Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) claims from 76.6 to 65.3 days and from 85.7 to 76.1 days for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.

Partnerships with the Ohio Departments of Developmental Disabilities and Education

Partnerships 2


Since the launch of the Employment First Partnership in FFY 2014, OOD helped more individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) achieve competitive integrated employment. The number of successful closures for DD eligible individuals increased 191% from FFY 2013 to FFY 2016.


OOD also served more students with disabilities than ever before through the Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP) with the Ohio Department of Education. The number of students with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 18 who applied for OOD services increased nearly 36% from FFY 2015 to FFY 2016. OOD also connected with more youth at a younger age. The number of youth ages 14 to 15 at the time of application increased 77% from FFY 2015 to FFY 2016. This earlier engagement helps students with disabilities get a head start on becoming job ready and better prepared to enter the workforce.

Implemented the Governor's Workforce Integration Task Force Recommendations

In December 2014, Ohio‘s General Assembly passed legislation creating the Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT) which was requested as part of Governor Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review. WIT was charged with gathering and analyzing data to make recommendations regarding barriers to employment and income parity for Ohioans who are deaf or blind. OOD accomplished several activities to support the recommendations of the WIT.


OOD worked with the Ohio Department of Public Safety to allow individuals with hearing impairments, who secure a federal waiver for the hearing exemption, to train and test for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Ohio. Seven individuals have completed the training and testing and are already employed.


OOD worked with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to add questions about reasonable accommodations and training program accessibility to the Workforce Inventory of Education and Training registration process. This was an important first step in helping individuals with disabilities learn which training programs are in-demand occupations to provide the best chance for successful employment.


OOD worked with the ODJFS to develop and deploy the Hiring Ohioans with Disabilities: A Toolkit for Employers, Managers and Human Resource Professionals to help employers learn about best practices from some of Ohio’s top employers, tax incentives for hiring workers with disabilities, recruiting and accommodating veterans with disabilities and many other resources.


OOD worked with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to change the state application questions to no longer require a driver’s license to apply for all state jobs. The site specifies those requirements based on each individual job, but specifically to those not requiring driving as a qualification.

In Recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr., We Recognize Benjamin William Arnett, the First African-American State Legislator Elected and an Individual with a Disability

William Arnett


Benjamin William Arnett of Greene County (1838-1906) was the first African American/Native American state legislator elected to represent a majority white constituency in Ohio. He lost one leg at age 20 after an ankle injury and a resulting tumor. Arnett was concerned that state law did not ensure black children had the same educational opportunities as white children. In 1887, he initiated statutes that changed education. The state was required to provide equal opportunities to all children. “The conflict of right and wrong is not confined to the human heart, but found in the laws and customs of men,” said Arnett. For additional information, visit



In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., OOD offices will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2017.