Director Testifies to Senate Committee on Benefits of Communication Disability Bill, Four Champion of Opportunity Award Recipients Honored, Student Transitions from School to Employment as a CDL Truck Driver

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

What's Inside:

Director Testifies to Senate Committee on Benefits of Communication Disability Bill

director miller


Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Executive Director Kevin Miller offered testimony on House Bill 115 to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on November 29th. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Theresa Gavarone and Scott Wiggam, would improve the interactions between law enforcement officers and individuals who have disabilities that impact their ability to communicate. Other testimony came from law enforcement and a mother whose son is on the Autism spectrum and was mistakenly charged with a DUI. They all spoke about the need for this bill and how it would help avoid a situation that could become harmful by providing law enforcement information about a driver who may have a communication disability through the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS).


Director Miller also has a personal connection to someone with a communication disability. His son Connor is on the Autism spectrum and although he is diligent about teaching Connor how to interact in the world, he is concerned when Connor is driving by himself. “I worry every day as he drives back and forth between home and his community college,” said Director Miller. "Because he’s on the Autism spectrum, he reacts differently in social and stressful situations.”


Other organizations that are publicly supporting HB 115 include 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, Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Deaf Services Center.

Four Champion of Opportunity Award Recipients Honored

OOD spent November and December awarding our annual Opportunity Awards. There are three different categories of these awards; the highest being the Champion of Opportunity award. This award is given to organizations that have gone above and beyond and who serve as statewide examples of what it means to provide quality employment opportunities and increased independence for individuals with disabilities. Here is a quick look back:


Natural Essentials INC.

The awards were kicked off on November 9th at Natural Essentials INC.; the recipient of the Northeast Area Champion of Opportunity Award.


natural essentials


Natural Essentials INC. was chosen for their commitment to inclusion by going the extra mile, such as teaching their managers American Sign Language to better communicate with employees who may be deaf or hard of hearing.


nat essent


HCR ManorCare

HCR ManorCare was the next organization to receive the Champion of Opportunity Award on November 16th and represents the Northwest Area.


HCR ManorCare


HCR ManorCare received their award for their willingness to hire individuals with disabilities and reaching out to OOD when they are in need of employees.


HCR Mano


The Ohio State University

On November 29th, we presented The Ohio State University with the Champion of Opportunity Award for the Southeast Area.




Ohio State has embedded an OOD Talent Sourcing Coordinator to help place individuals with disabilities in open positions on campus. Ohio State also regularly holds Windmills trainings to educate on inclusivity and maintaining a good work environment.




Miami University

The last of our Champion of Opportunity Award events was held on December 5th in the Southwest Area, where OOD recognized Miami University with the Champion of Opportunity Award.




Miami University President Greg Crawford accepted the award. The university strives to have an inclusive environment by encouraging human resource staff members and department heads, who are involved in the interviewing or hiring process, to participate in OOD’s Windmills and Disability Awareness trainings. 




For the first time, we are happy to add educational institutions to the award recipient list. You can see previous recipients as well as this year’s honorees at Opportunity Awards.  

Student Transitions from School to Employment as a CDL Truck Driver



Lucas Fauble first came to OOD in October 2014 looking for a part-time job as a transition-aged youth while attending post-secondary training at the University of Northwest Ohio in Lima to be an agricultural diesel mechanic. Lucas's first OOD Individualized Plan for Employment was created the following year. He was able to secure employment as a courtesy clerk at Meijer.


One year later, Lucas returned to OOD to pursue permanent employment after finishing his training at the university. He was looking for a higher paying position to repay his student loans and provide him the independence to support himself. Working with his job developer, Lucas constructed a resume and took part in interviewing exercises. He met weekly with his job developer to view and apply to job postings on Ohio Means Jobs.


Tim Slye and Jason Grieser of Grieser Transportation were working closely with Fulton County Workforce Development and Ohio Means Jobs to recruit potential employees for open driver positions when they received Lucas’s resume. Tim and Jason were impressed with Lucas's skill set and that he had his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). They interviewed Lucas and offered him a full-time position in March 2017. Lucas was thrilled. 


Ten months later, Lucas still loves his job and has developed a strong bond with his supervisor Tim. The two stay in contact while Lucas is on the road, even to the point that Lucas sends Tim pictures of his favorite meals. Greiser Transportation prides itself on being a small local business that walks side-by-side with employees and their families. They encourage OOD job seekers, who have a CDL, to apply with their company. For information about how OOD helps students transition from school to work, visit Transition Students 

Military Receive Expedited Processing of Disability Claims

Military service members can receive expedited processing of disability claims from Social Security through OOD’s Division of Disability Determination (DDD). Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available through the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.


Military service members who became disabled during active military service duty on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurred, are eligible for the expedited process.


The Fast Track Unit at DDD handles these specialized cases to ensure priority processing. The unit produced 644 military casualty claims during Federal Fiscal Year 2017. These military claims are typically processed within 26 days and can be processed on initial, reconsideration, continuing disability review or pre-hearing levels. For further information, visit SSA Veterans.

See Videos of OOD's Workforce Successes



In OOD’s Business Relations video titled Workforce Success Stories, Richard Smith, a phone bank representative at Huntington National Bank, recommends businesses consider a partnership with the agency. “OOD is committed to your companies,” said Richard. “They are committed to the individuals with whom they are recommending to you. They are committed to the community as a whole.” For more information about how OOD can help your business meet its diverse workforce needs by including people with disabilities, check out all five of OOD’s Business Relations Videos.

OOD Taking Action with Opportunity for Adult Braille Literacy

It can be difficult to receive Braille instruction once an individual is out of the public education system, particularly in rural and other areas of the state not served by vision service providers. In September, OOD issued a request for proposals from eligible entities to provide basic uncontracted Braille instruction to learners with low vision or blindness who are at least 14 years of age and who are out of school.


Ohio’s chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the recipient of the Adult Braille Literacy Project Award. Their proposal offered instruction based in four cities around Ohio, along with wide-ranging initiatives for recruiting eligible learners. Group studies will start next spring and include a weekly one-on-one follow-up between a certified teacher, a Braille mentor and individual learners for about 14 weeks. Participants will be encouraged to explore the employment assistance available through OOD’s Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI).


If you know an individual with a visual impairment that would like to master Braille, contact Elizabeth Sammons at

OOD Older Blind Program Gives Assistance to Seniors

The agency's Independent Living Older Blind (ILOB) team provided seniors with tips, technology and skills to feel safer and more self-sufficient. Some of these services include special lighting or magnification technology for ease of reading; tactile or high-contrast markings for kitchen safety; and talking devices like clocks and large-number phones. Average time from application to finish has decreased from 7.6 months to 6.5 months. Visit the ILOB Program for eligibility and service details.

Make Your Holiday Events Inclusive for People with Disabilities

This ADA Hospitality guide will help make your holiday events and celebrations inclusive and welcoming for people of all abilities.

Connect To OOD Social Media

Connect to OOD on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to see items like this TV news story about how we helped an individual with a disability keep his job by obtaining a new standing wheelchair.  #ConnectToOOD  #OODWorks



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