Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Offers Expansion and Improvement Funds to Provider Community

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FOR RELEASE:  September 6, 2017

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Offers

Expansion and Improvement Funds to Provider Community

COLUMBUS, OH – Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) announces the selection of vocational rehabilitation partners and providers who will receive opportunity dollars – a total of more than $280,000 in funds. These dollars are one-time funds available to develop new programs for individuals with disabilities. The driving themes of those selected include a focus on connecting students with disabilities to higher wages and in-demand occupations, partnering with technology and trade industries, expanding services to rural areas and supporting the attainment of nationally recognized credentials for staff to provide supported employment services and work incentives consultations.

“Our providers in the community are vital to our goal of ensuring that individuals with disabilities receive quality employment services,” said OOD Executive Director Kevin L. Miller. “This reinvestment to local providers and businesses would not be possible without the transformative business practices executed by them and the OOD staff to make certain all Ohioans with disabilities receive the needed services to find employment and gain independence.”

OOD received several responses from across the state to its request for proposals, and coordinated an independent scoring and selection committee with representatives from OOD, the Ohio Departments of Developmental Disabilities, Education, Job and Family Services, and Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The committee selected the following proposals from vocational rehabilitation providers and partners that will assist Ohioans with disabilities with expanded and improved opportunities:

  • Food for Good Thought - to develop summer youth sites in the information technology industry
  • Capabilities - to develop summer youth work experience sites in the technology and trade industries, and to develop a new program to assist students with disabilities in identifying career interests to better prepare them for post-school employment
  • The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities - to engage businesses in northeast Ohio to participate in local hiring events for people with disabilities

In addition, Services for Independent Living in Northeast Ohio, the Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati, and the Deaf Community Resource Center in Dayton will each receive funding to obtain accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

An OOD survey recognized an overwhelming need for Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) certification from the Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (APSE) and Work Incentives Practitioner (WIP) training and Certification from Cornell University. OOD received more than 550 requests for CESP certification and more than 160 requests for WIP credentialing, and is committed to funding all requests.

OOD is the state agency responsible for assisting individuals with disabilities to gain meaningful employment, to live independently or receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. www.ood.ohio.gov.