Focus - June 2017

An update and information report for doctors who provide consultative exams for OOD’s Division of Disability Determination

What's Inside:

Hearing Impaired Obtain a Commercial Driver's License

CDL video


Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) recently produced a video for individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss to explain how to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a Hearing Exemption.


The video uses American Sign Language to communicate with members of the deaf community so those interested in commercial truck driving will know the steps needed to obtain a CDL. The video can be viewed on the OOD and BMV websites at and


Last year, Ohio implemented a provision in federal law that allows individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss the opportunity to obtain a CDL with a hearing exemption. OOD, BMV and OCJS partnered to develop procedures that allow individuals who qualify for a hearing exemption waiver to train and test for a CDL.


“Individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss are excited about this opportunity and are looking forward to participating in this high paying in-demand occupation,” said OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller.


Since implementing the new CDL testing process, Ohio has received interest from individuals with hearing loss wanting to learn more about pursuing a CDL. Currently, 11 individuals have successfully obtained a CDL with hearing exemption license.


The truck driving industry is an in-demand occupation supporting Ohio’s economy and will greatly benefit from a larger pool of qualified candidates. To find out more about an in-demand career in the trucking industry, visit 

Legislative Update

Substitute H.B. 115 Moves to the Senate


On May 17th House Bill 115, sponsored by Representatives Theresa Gavarone (Bowling Green) and Scott Wiggam (Wooster), was unanimously voted out of the House of Representatives 93-0. The bill’s sponsors provided testimony on June 6th in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. “The goal of this legislation all along was to improve communication between law enforcement and those with communication disabilities,” Gavarone said. “There’s no doubt we accomplished that and I look forward to this bill moving through the Senate and getting to the Governor’s desk.”


This proposal will help avoid a situation that could become harmful by providing law enforcement information about a driver or the occupant of a vehicle who may have a communication disability through Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS). A multitude of organizations have already publicly supported HB 115 including the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, National Alliance on Mental Illness, The Arc of Ohio and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence.



Senate Bill 144 Introduced


Senator Dave Burke (Marysville) introduced Senate Bill 144 on May 3rd and provided sponsor testimony to the Government Oversight and Reform Committee on June 6th. The proposal will streamline the OOD Commissioners, the Governor's Council on People with Disabilities and the Consumer Advisory Committee into a single, more inclusive State Rehabilitation Council that will provide feedback to OOD on vocational rehabilitation services. The State Rehabilitation Council will be called the OOD Council. The Ohio Centers for Independent Living, American Council of the Blind of Ohio, Disability Rights Ohio, Deaf Services Center, Inc. and Autism Society of Ohio have provided letters of support to Senator Burke’s office.

OOD Job Seekers Attend Job Fairs

OOD job seeker Alex Munka shared his video resume with employers at the Akron job fair on May 11th.


OOD recently held two job fairs with a combined 320 job seekers and 56

participating employers.


The first job fair, hosted by Wright State University, was held on May 4th. More than 200 OOD job seekers and 35 employers attended the job fair.  

OOD job seeker Marc Shackleford was excited to attend the event. “Coming to the job fair is a good experience. The training I received the week before made me feel prepared.”


There was a wide range of companies and industries in attendance. Companies participating were involved in everything from retail and banking to construction and local universities.


Miami University representative Leigh Swigart said OOD job fairs are her favorite job fairs to attend. “It’s always a good turnout, job candidates are always prepared and they know what type of positions they are looking for.”


OOD’s second job fair was held on May 11th and was hosted by Akron General Health and Wellness Center. More than 120 OOD job seekers and 21 employers participated. 


OOD job seeker Alex Munka created a unique experience for potential employers - a video resume to showcase his skills. In his video resume he demonstrates copying, filing, answering phones and mail runs. Alex is seeking a job in an office environment where he can use these skills. To view Alex’s video resume, visit


For more information about hiring individuals with disabilities, call OOD’s HiringAbility Hotline at 866-895-0058 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or contact an OOD business relations team member. If you have a disability and want to work, visit to get started on your journey to employment.

DDD Fast Track Program Discussed at OSU James Cancer Hospital

DDD Professional Relations Officer Amy Coverdale presenting DDD’s Fast Track program to social workers at OSU’s James Cancer Hospital.


OOD’s Division of Disability Determination (DDD) Fast Track program is a collaboration between DDD and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The goal is to expedite disability decisions for individuals who are critically ill within 20 days of application. Military casualty claims are also assigned to this unit. These cases involve individuals with any alleged disability who were on active duty on or after October 1, 2001. 


Representatives from DDD participated in an information sharing session that included Fast Track cases with 50 social workers from The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital. The SSA disability claims process is an intricate system which relies on the cooperation and participation of multiple parties. For further information about these types of cases, visit or

Business Enterprise Statewide Conference

OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller (l) recognizes Business Enterprise Operator Ken Shipman for 50 years of service.


The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) held their annual statewide conference on May 5th with the Ohio Vendors Representative Committee’s (OVRC) annual meeting on May 6th. Ninety BEP operators, prospective operators in training, BEP staff, speakers and special guests attended the conference.


The conference offered an opportunity for members to network, gave updates on the Randolph Sheppard Act, and provided professional development in marketing, vending trends, assistive technology, security and much more. In addition, BEP operators were recognized for their years of service.  

OOD Surpasses Goal for Operation Feed


OOD employees went above and beyond with this year’s Operation Feed donations. Last year’s results were 22,498 meals. This year’s goal was to reach 24,478 meals in any combination of donated food or dollars. Thanks to the efforts of our co-chairs Heidi Krukowski and Adam Elkire, along with the overwhelming generosity of OOD employees, the agency reached 37,972 meals for Operation Feed. That’s 55% above the goal! Way to go OOD!

OOD Excellence in Service Awards



At OOD’s recent Excellence in Service and Employee Recognition event, 10 staff members from across the state were honored for performing above and beyond in their efforts to improve customer satisfaction and job performance as well as encouraging creativity, innovation and initiative.


The 2017 OOD Excellence in Service Award honorees are:

  • Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation - Teji Adeyemon, a vocational rehabilitation supervisor, was recognized for her innovation and dedication to standardize statewide reports to align with the vocational rehabilitation performance evaluation classification goals.
  • Fiscal Management - John Nguyen is a program administrator, who provides the agency with detailed data analysis and reporting which impacted a wide range of OOD business efforts to improve efficiencies and services to consumers and businesses.
  • Human Resources - Jonathan Rollings is a technology based training developer, who developed a new learning management system that improved the learning and retention of disability claims adjudicators. He also led the creation of an E-Learning Design & Development Guide to help communicate and train professionals at a statewide level on industry standard e-learning practices.
  • Division of Disability Determination - Eric Zirger, a disability claims adjudicator, was recognized for his commitment to building better programs and improving services to customers. He assisted with the rollout of a new national case processing system, serves as an active member of the Director's Advisory Group and mentors new disability claims adjudicators.
  • Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation - 5-County Transition Expo Planning and Leadership Team: Cynthia Crews, Kimberly Colyer, Kerri Stickney, Vicki Grozier and Kyna Johnson - This team, consisting of VR supervisors, counselors, a caseload assistant and a business relations specialist, worked countless hours to host an innovative, first-of-its kind Transition Expo for students of Adams, Brown, Clinton, Fayette and Highland Counties to engage with employers and network. Their vision of investing in these students and their community established a prototype for expansion and replication in other parts of Ohio.

A Desire to Work with Youth Leads to a Full-Time Job

Ernie Berry meeting with a YMCA youth.


With a master’s degree in hand and a strong desire to work with people, OOD participant Ernie Berry did not think that finding and keeping a job would be too difficult when he applied for services to OOD’s Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) in 2013. He obtained a work-from-home job that fit the needs of mobility and visual limitations. However, the job did not provide the human interaction Ernie wanted.


“Ernie was a joy to work with. He was determined to locate employment. Even when he was discouraged in his job search, he was open to OOD's suggestions,” said Ernie’s OOD counselor Audrey Mueller.


When Ernie turned to the Tiffin Community YMCA last year for a front desk job, the words “you’re over qualified” lead him to think that he was not going to be offered a job. What followed was a job offer to help develop programming for the YMCA youth initiative/diversion program. Ernie was thrilled to mentor youth and help them avoid making some of the mistakes he made. In November, Ernie was hired as a director of Juvenile Programs.


“Ernie was very excited and passionate about developing the needed curriculum for the juvenile program. The Tiffin YMCA was a great match to Ernie's strengths and abilities,” says Mueller. He has developed additional programs to help bring in more youth to the YMCA, to the satisfaction of himself and his employer. If you have a disability and want to work, visit to begin your path to employment.

Connect To OOD


Connect to OOD on TwitterFacebook and YouTube to see items like this post about a new comic book that will feature a superhero with Down Syndrome.  #ConnectToOOD #OODWorks



Disability News – Functional and Fashionable Products to Make Life Easier


Online retail giant Zappos announced its launch of a special section to highlight functional and fashionable products designed to make life easier for individuals who have challenges getting dressed. The new collection, dubbed Zappos Adaptive, features items that are reversible pieces soft to the touch, clothing without tags, and buttons and zippers. For more information, visit

GCPD Accepting Applications for Annual Awards


The Governor's Council on People with Disabilities (GCPD) annually recognizes businesses, groups and individuals who have significantly contributed to employment opportunities and community involvement for people with disabilities. For more information about the GCPD awards, visit


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