August Focus

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

What's Inside:

OOD Hosts Youth Leadership Forum

Watch a video from the 2017 Youth Leadership Forum.


Forty-five young adults with disabilities from across the state took part in a five-day leadership and advocacy training program. The high school juniors and seniors participated in OOD’s annual Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) from July 30th - August 3rd where they learned how to continue their journey of independence into adulthood.


Forum delegates took part in various activities that taught them about choosing a career, the history of disability as a culture and received instruction on self-advocacy. An important part of the YLF for many participants is the mentoring sessions where they talked with professionals from a variety of backgrounds, many of whom have disabilities themselves. The youth leaders also learned to develop their own leadership plans and create their own personal goals, as well as goals for their individual communities.


While attending YLF, the delegates went on their own private tour of the Statehouse. They also met people there who have disabilities and found success in their careers, like Nate Fernandes, who works on ensuring the Secretary of State website is accessible for those with disabilities; Mark Seifarth, who has worked at the Statehouse for 35 years as a legislative and advocacy consultant; and Blake Haxton, a lawyer and a Paralympic rower, as well as a former OOD Commissioner.


On the final day of the forum, the delegates took part in a talent show. This activity showcased the youths’ talents ranging from dancing and singing to magic and flag twirling. The delegates’ confidence had grown in their few days at YLF and it was reflected in this activity. Many who came to the forum were initially tentative and hesitant, but showed their new-found confidence performing on stage.


This year, after the talent show the delegates gave group presentations on new technologies assisting individuals with disabilities, how to raise awareness about advocacy, and notable people in the disability community. When done with their presentations the delegates from each group were given awards for their work throughout the week.


OOD encourages the youth to become advocates for themselves and others with disabilities. This means taking everything they learned at the YLF and continuing to develop the type of advocacy and leadership skills needed to become lifelong advocates in their communities and the workforce.


For more information on OOD’s Youth Leadership Forum, visit

Summer Youth Work Experiences Improve Work Skills to Secure Permanent Employment

In 2012, Sam was in his freshman year of high school and applied for services from OOD. Sam was diagnosed with Autism and he struggled with interpersonal skills and self-direction. Through OOD, he learned about the Summer Youth Work Experience (SYWE) program and participated in two summer jobs, where he was able to improve his interactions with others and learn some valuable work skills.


Four years later, Sam was selected to participate in Project Search at Dublin Methodist Hospital - a one-year high school transition program that provides both training and education leading to employment for individuals with disabilities. The goal of the program is to completely submerge these individuals into the hospital environment where they learn in the classroom and in one of the three internships. OhioHealth chose to feature Sam in a video about Project Search and the valuable experiences it has provided to individuals with disabilities.


Utilizing the skills these programs taught him, Sam found a job with Chart Wells, a nutrition service company that provides and serves lunches at Dublin City Schools. Sam loves his job as it has given him the chance to interact with people.

State Agencies Use Data to Measure Ohio’s Workforce Development Programs



The Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has launched Ohio’s Workforce Success Measures Dashboard, a new interactive tool to allow Ohio’s policymakers to measure the success of Ohio’s largest workforce development programs.


Policymakers and Ohioans alike can use the new Workforce Success Measures Dashboard to see state, county and provider level data on the number of Ohioans completing workforce transformation programs. The dashboard empowers program administrators and policymakers to evaluate program performance and identify best practices by measuring four common goals:


1) Employment: Do program participants find short and long-term employment?

2) Skills: Do programs provide job seekers with access to training that results in industry-recognized certificates and credentials?

3) Wages: What are participants’ overall earnings?

4) Value to Business: Do program participants consistently hold the same job over time?


The dashboard website was a collaborative effort led by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Higher Education, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities and the Ohio Education Research Center at The Ohio State University.


The Workforce Success Measures Dashboard is available to everyone at

Vocational Rehabilitation’s Fast Track Pilot

In April 2017, OOD’s Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation implemented a Fast Track pilot program aimed at identifying individuals who could benefit from a different service delivery model. The Fast Track pilot consists of six teams throughout the state. To be considered a good fit for the pilot, an individual would be eligible for services but need minimal services. The candidate must also either be employed at application or had recently become unemployed. The goal with these individuals is to complete the application, the eligibility decision and their individualized plan for employment all within the first two scheduled appointments. The ultimate goal is to have them placed in employment within 90 days of application.


Since April, more than 25 individuals have been identified in the pilot. On July 10th, the first individual’s case was successfully closed. The Fast Track does not fit all individuals coming to OOD for vocational rehabilitation services. However, it allows for quick engagement and placement for those that do meet the criteria. The plan is to expand implementation statewide later this fall.

OOD Employee Feature Video Series: A Link in the Chain



OOD’s A Link in the Chain series gives employees the opportunity to talk about who they are and how they contribute to serving individuals with disabilities. This video features OOD staff member Elizabeth Sammons, who shares her experiences about being on both sides of the table.

Ohio’s Division of Disability Determination Assists Wisconsin

OOD’s Division of Disability Determination (DDD) is currently providing assistance to the Wisconsin Disability Determination Bureau by processing 400 electronic reconsideration Social Security Disability/Supplemental Security claims. The hard work and efforts of our employees has allowed Ohio DDD the capacity and efficiency to assist Wisconsin. Ohio currently has the best processing time in the Great Lakes Region, while still maintaining excellent customer service and accuracy in the decisions on claims.

Commissioners Seek Award Nominations

The OOD Commissioners are seeking nominations for two awards that are presented to honor the service of individuals who significantly contribute to assisting individuals with disabilities.


Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award

OOD has established the Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award to honor outstanding advocacy accomplishments by non-employees of OOD. Ben Bonanno was a former OOD Commissioner and an unwavering advocate for people with disabilities. The Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award recognizes a person whose advocacy efforts have significantly improved the employment possibilities of Ohioans with disabilities in a manner that is consistent with OOD’s mission. The deadline date for submitting nominations is August 25, 2017.


Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award

The Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award honors non-employees of OOD who provide outstanding services to Ohioans with disabilities to make their participation in society more meaningful. This award has been established in memory of Denise Weisenborn who served as an OOD Commissioner from 1997 to 2006. The deadline date for submitting nominations is August 25, 2017.


The nomination forms can be found on OOD’s website at

OOD’s 2016-2017 Annual Report

OOD’s annual report outlines how we continue to focus on jobs, accountability, cost-effectiveness and efficiency, which has resulted in improved services to individuals with disabilities. In the past year, our successes have garnered the attention of other vocational rehabilitation and Social Security state agencies to use OOD as a model for best practices. OOD’s annual report for Federal Fiscal Year 2016 and State Fiscal Year 2017 can be found at

Facebook Live Now Has Closed Captioning

On June 6th, Facebook brought closed captioning to Facebook Live to make videos streamed live on the social network accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This allows publishers to create and stream closed captions for their live videos either on their own or with the help of a technology vendor. For more information, visit

Connect to OOD

Connect to OOD on TwitterFacebook and YouTube to see items like this post about an indoor skydiving range assisting individuals with disabilities in the free-fall simulation.  #ConnectToOOD #OODWorks



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