HireGround Summer, 2017

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A Publication for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals and Partners

Summer 2017

Career Counseling Now Available to Workers in Subminimum Wage Employment


Section 511 of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) to provide career counseling and information and referral services to people with disabilities employed at subminimum wage. These workers are currently employed by entities that hold a special wage certificate under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.


To meet this federal requirement, OOD hired seven career resources employees last December to implement the counseling requirements. These employees coordinate with approximately 130 certificate holders across the state to deliver services to workers in subminimum wage employment. Career counseling sessions are held in small groups of 10 to 12 individuals, allowing for audience participation and interaction. Content includes discussion about Employment First, supported employment services, informed choice and how to access vocational rehabilitation services.


OOD is pleased to report that more than 10,655 individuals in subminimum wage employment received the required career counseling, and OOD was able to provide these services to all who needed them prior to the deadline of July 22, 2017. This is an annual requirement, so OOD will be providing these services on an ongoing basis.  


Find out more about career counseling and the curriculum here: http://www.ood.ohio.gov/Programs/Career-Counseling-for-Individuals-in-Subminimum-Wage-Employment.

Ohio Labor Market Update: Commercial Driver’s Licenses for Participants Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing


Earlier this year, the 2024 Ohio Job Outlook Employment Projection's report was published by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Bureau of Labor Market Information. This report provides projections regarding top occupational groups by growth rate and new job creation in Ohio.


Occupational groups with the highest projected growth between 2014 and 2024 include the following:

  • Healthcare Support (25.4%) 
  • Healthcare Practitioners and Technical (15.2%)  
  • Computer and Mathematical (12.8%) 
  • Personal Care and Service (9.0%)  
  • Construction and Extraction (8.7%)

Of particular relevance to OOD is the Transportation & Material Moving occupational group, which includes commercial truck drivers. Though this industry sector is ranked thirteenth with an expected growth rate of 4.8%, it comes in fourth on the list of projected number of jobs to be added between 2014 and 2024, with 18,940 expected new openings.


Since Ohio applicants for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) were required to pass a hearing test until last year, deaf and hard of hearing individuals were excluded from pursuing commercial truck driving. In 2013, the federal government began issuing waivers addressing the hearing requirement. Starting last year, OOD partnered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Office of Criminal Justice, local truck driving schools and employers to develop procedures and a training video to open the road for truck driving candidates who are deaf or hard of hearing. In conjunction with these changes, OOD provided training for driving schools. OOD has also contributed to a video in English and American Sign Language regarding procedures for obtaining a CDL with a hearing exemption. This video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3lNLbHyC8I.


To date, 11 OOD job seekers with hearing waivers have participated in training and obtained their CDLs, and all of them have been offered employment. An additional 10 applicants are in line to obtain waivers and begin their training soon.

OOD Leverages OhioMeansJobs.com to Expand Outreach Efforts


OOD is partnering with the Department of Job and Family Services to update and reconfigure the disability employment pages on the www.OhioMeansJobs.com (OMJ) website. Now OMJ features OOD as a primary resource for job seekers with disabilities. This provides meaningful access to our vocational rehabilitation program by linking individuals with disabilities seeking employment services directly to OODWorks.com.


In addition to job seeking resources, OMJ directs employers who need assistance in hiring and retaining people with disabilities to OOD resources. These include our business relations team, the Employer Toolkit and the Ohio Business Leadership Network. The update also includes provider resources such as access to Labor Market Information and connecting prospective providers to OOD’s provider services page.


Leveraging the vast reach of OMJ will help OOD expand our outreach to individuals with disabilities, employers and providers. This partnership serves as a promising example of how Ohio is working to align workforce programs to better meet the needs of Ohioans.


To learn more, go to www.OhioMeansJobs.com. Click on either the individual or the employer landing page to locate the disability icon to look at the new pages.


OOD Provides Summer Work Experiences to Students and Youth with Disabilities


Each summer, approximately 2,500 Ohio students with disabilities have opportunities to identify career interests and gain valuable work skills through Summer Youth Work Experiences (SYWE). OOD partners with more than 90 community rehabilitation programs and community employers to arrange over 500 sites across the state for these experiences. Research indicates that work experiences for youth with disabilities during high school help them to acquire jobs at higher wages after they graduate. 


Authentic work experiences are beneficial to all youth, but especially for students with disabilities. Some examples of the variety of occupations students are experiencing this summer include health care, animal care, greenhouse work, retail, food service and hospitality. SYWEs are one piece of OOD’s service delivery, ensuring that students with disabilities have access to pre-employment transition services. Such activities comprise a key component of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). OOD is excited to assist these young people with their transition to adulthood by providing high-quality work experiences.  


OOD Expands Availability of Braille


OOD's Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) wants to provide information in each person’s most comfortable reading format. We also want to make it easy for counselors and partners to share this information. With this in mind, we have stored a number of commonly requested, large print and Braille-ready files (BRF) on our public internet: http://www.ood.ohio.gov/Information/OOD-Publications.


 BRF/large print publications currently available:

  • 10 Steps to Communicating Effectively with People with Disabilities 
  • Are You Experiencing Impaired Vision?
  • Are You Experiencing Vision Loss?
  • BSVI It’s All About Employment
  • Finding a Job Should Be About Ability
  • How to Make the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Visit
  • OODWorks.com  

In addition, we have posted Braille formatted participant informational documents under the BSVI homepage on the Intranet making it easier for OOD employees to provide them to customers: http://intranet.rsc.ohio.gov/VR/BSVI/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/.


BRF participant informational documents:

  • Rights and Duties
  • Professional Disclosure Statement
  • Employer Consent
  • Participant Acknowledgment
  • Rights of Persons with a Disability
  • Selection of a Provider Informational Sheet
  • VR Program Overview

The Braille-ready documents are marked with a BRF ending and the large print documents are marked with a WORD ending. Just like print PDFs, BRF documents should require no changes or formatting on your end. These documents may also be emailed directly to a Braille reader as attachments, exactly like print documents.

Vocational Rehabilitation Fee Schedule Starts October 1


On April 17, 2017 the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) approved updates to the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC 3304.2.52) related to OOD’s vocational rehabilitation fee schedule. These changes include updated service definitions and rates that will go into effect on October 1, 2017. In addition, this will align rates for medical, psychological and dental fees paid by OOD with those of the Ohio Department of Medicaid.


Training regarding use of the new fee schedule rates will take place for OOD staff and providers in late August and early September.

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How to Access Previous HireGround Newsletters


Do you ever recall something from an earlier HireGround that you would like to access again? OOD has posted all past issues starting with January 2014 online. All are available both in PDF and text versions at ood.ohio.gov/About-Us/Media-Center/HireGround-Newsletter.