Weekly Focus February 3, 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

February 3, 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:

Ohio's 2018-2019 Biennial Budget

biennium budget


Dear Fellow Ohioans,


This week, Governor John Kasich rolled out his final executive budget to members of the Ohio General Assembly. This starts the adoption process by the Ohio General Assembly of the state’s biennial budget, which must be signed by Governor Kasich by July 1st. The governor’s new budget builds on the progress made since 2011 to strengthen Ohio’s economy and promote job creation. It focuses on enhancing Ohio’s job-friendly climate, better preparing Ohioans for college or careers, getting a jump on the future of transportation and taking Ohio to where it needs to be in the 21st century by embracing technology.


Through the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) proposed budget, we will continue to serve all eligible individuals with disabilities without delay, and help them get the assistance and support they need to achieve quality independence and employment. OOD is improving accessibility to services through technology with the design and implementation of OODWORKS.com – a job portal that allows potential consumers to complete an online application for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services in the comfort of their own home.


Over the past several years, OOD has taken on the challenge of getting more individuals with disabilities into competitive employment. With employment comes an added sense of belonging and strengthens both Ohio communities and families. According to OhioMeansJobs, there are more than 120,000 jobs available in Ohio, and we are committed to making sure that individuals who work with OOD are job ready.


Key OOD Priorities for State Fiscal Year 2018-2019

  • Since the launch of the Employment First Partnership with the Department of Developmental Disabilities in Federal Fiscal Year 2014, OOD is helping significantly more people with developmental disabilities find employment. The implementation of the Ohio Transition Support Partnership with the Ohio Department of Education is allowing OOD to serve more students with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 18 than ever before. This earlier engagement helps students with disabilities get a head start on becoming job ready and better prepared to enter the workforce with necessary skills.  
  • Under Section 511 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, OOD will increase its in-reach effort to provide career counseling directly to all individuals receiving subminimum wages as well as expanding pre-employment transition services statewide to eligible students with disabilities in need of such services. As a result of these efforts, it is anticipated that referrals to OOD will increase caseloads and related service costs. 
  • Within the VR program, OOD has achieved significant reductions in the cost per employment outcome and in the time to rehabilitation. In addition, OOD has reinvested savings in strategic initiatives, such as piloting in-house service delivery models that are designed to improve the effectiveness of services. 

As the budget approval process moves forward, OOD will continue to share the progress made since 2011. Our goal is for Ohioans to live healthier more productive lives, and ensure our state’s economy has the prepared and qualified workforce needed to grow stronger. We will begin to meet with legislators in anticipation of testimony before the Health and Human Service Subcommittee of the House Finance Committee. When I testify in the coming weeks before the General Assembly, I will detail our achievements in delivering services to more individuals with disabilities in a more efficient and timely manner. The initiatives in Governor Kasich’s proposed budget will help us build on these successes.


I will continue to keep you updated as this process continues.




Kevin L. Miller
Executive Director

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

Vending Operator Builds Successful Business through Business Enterprise Program

OOD Business Enterprise Operator Stawn Essman checks inventory on his vending machines.


Stawn Essman, who is visually impaired, worked at a restaurant as a food prep and a manager for 25 years. He was discouraged when he had to leave that job, but still had faith that he could have a successful career. 


He was referred to OOD’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP), which assists Ohioans who are legally blind to have entrepreneurial careers in food service management. Two years after connecting with OOD, Essman is a successful vending machine operator at his alma mater, The Ohio State University. Due to his disability, Essman rides his bike to manage his 52 machines in 24 buildings throughout the OSU campus. These vending machines include snacks, cold foods and coffee.


Essman is happy he reached out to OOD and appreciates the agency’s quick response to his needs. “The support they give me with my machines is phenomenal,” said Essman. “If I need something, Sally Nunes is always there for me.” Nunes is his OOD BEP consultant and says Essman has a strong work ethic. “Stawn’s hard work, keen business sense and positive attitude make him a huge asset to the Business Enterprise Program. Stawn is an absolute pleasure to work with and I see a bright future for him,” said Nunes.


The goals of the BEP are to provide food service businesses to people who are legally blind; establish employment for people who have a visual disability; publicly demonstrate the abilities, capabilities and competencies of individuals with disabilities; and provide quality food and vending service programs throughout Ohio.


The BEP has more than 100 self-employed licensed operators managing businesses in food service and vending throughout Ohio in state, federal and interstate highway rest areas. They also have businesses at state universities, colleges, county buildings and other private locations. Under the BEP, licensed operators are sole proprietors of their food service business. For more information, visit http://ood.ohio.gov/Programs/Business-Enterprise.

American Council of the Blind Scholarships

acb logo

The American Council of the Blind is offering scholarships to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate students who are legally blind with at least a 3.3 GPA and are involved in their school or local community. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,500. The application deadline is February 15th. For more information, visit www.acb.org/scholarship-application.

Did You Know? A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities is Available

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has published A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities to advance efforts in ensuring that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to engage in the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit


OOD By the Numbers


Vocational Rehabilitation


                                                                 Current                     FFY 2017

Individuals in Job Ready Status:           3,100                        2,321

For county level information

& map, visit our website.


Individuals Employed:                            1,968                        1,863

Employed, not yet

successfully closed


Successful Closures:                                                               2,200    

Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully


                                         Disability Determination

                                (FFY 2017 as of 1/27/2017 – Week 17)


Applications Received:                                                          56,816  


Determinations:                                                                       61.372


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                         352.1

Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded