State Agencies Focus on Hiring Individuals with Disabilities, 30 Walmarts Receive Committed Awards, Decrease in Vision Leads Man to New Focus

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

What's Inside:

State Agencies Focus on Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller speaking with human resource professionals from state agencies.


In conjunction with Governor John Kasich’s initiative to ensure individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to employment openings, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) recently hosted four disability awareness and accessibility training sessions for state agencies. More than 70 human resource professionals from 40 state agencies attended these sessions. The next step is for state agencies to identify a list of positions that can be a focus for hiring individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Each state agency’s recruitment and hiring staff will meet with OOD staff to discuss the positions. OOD will then identify and refer potential candidates for available positions and track each agencies’ hiring progress.


“This is an exciting opportunity for the deaf community,” said OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller. “Ohioans who are deaf or hard of hearing make important contributions to business, the arts, athletics, education and government every day.” Director Miller also met with members of the Community Centers for the Deaf and encouraged them to share this information within their constituencies and to contact OOD for services. The deaf community can also apply for jobs at

30 Walmart Locations Recognized for Hiring Individuals with Disabilities



OOD recognized 30 Ohio Walmart stores with the Committed to Opportunity Award for their leadership in integrating individuals with disabilities into Ohio’s workforce.


“Walmart is the largest retailer in the world and has taken it upon themselves to make sure that well-qualified and capable individuals who have disabilities are integrated into their corporate culture,” said OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller. “By embracing a culture of inclusion and diversity, the lives of those individuals with disabilities are enhanced, the community benefits, and the workforce is strengthened.”


OOD’s vocational rehabilitation counselors and job developers meet with Walmart human resources staff to discuss the skills and available positions for OOD's job ready candidates. To see the media release, visit Walmart media release.

Decrease in Vision Leads Man to New Focus



While Sam Thornton, Jr. was fighting to stay sober, he assumed his frequent stumbles and disorientation were alcohol related. However, over the next few years, as he achieved sobriety, such events kept happening. He decided to visit an eye doctor and learned that he was living with diminished vision. He eventually lost his shipping job as his glaucoma got worse.


Sam, 58, was determined to overcome this new challenge so he could continue as a certified public speaker to veterans and ex-offenders in recovery where he shared a life theme he created called FOCUS (Facing Our Circumstances Under Stress). He realized that he would need to adapt to this new circumstance of vision loss, and in 2017 he contacted OOD’s Independent Living Older Blind (ILOB) program. ILOB helps individuals age 55 or older with visual impairments by providing adaptive equipment and training on orientation and mobility, assistive technology and daily living skills.


Sam met with ILOB Caseload Assistant Katy Mason. She referred him for services at the Cleveland Sight Center, which helped him with mastering daily living activities in a new way, learning to use a white cane and obtaining some low vision aids. Sam was relieved and grateful for the education and tools that would help him continue to lead a full life.


Today, Sam stays active giving motivational speeches to those in recovery. He has even added to his list of FOCUS presentations and speaks to those experiencing vision loss. Visit OOD’s Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired for more information on how services and supports can be provided to individuals with low vision and blindness to help them attain and maintain employment.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month

The month of February is Low Vision Awareness Month. Low vision describes significant visual impairments that aren't correctable through glasses, medication, eye surgery or contact lenses. It’s often characterized by partial sight such as blind spots, tunnel vision or blurred vision. The most common causes of low vision in the United States are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. Other causes include strokes, traumatic brain injury and various diseases. For more information on eye diseases, visit Prevent Blindness. If you have a visual impairment and want to work, visit and apply for services.

Watch this Video on Workforce Successes



In OOD’s Business Relations video titled Workforce Success Stories, Kevin Thomas, owner of Town and Country Sew-n-Vac, contacted OOD after he had an issue with his eye and could no longer drive trucks. “Starting over is hard but OOD made it a lot easier,” said Kevin. 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.

Division of Disability Determination Staff Receive Lean Six Sigma Camo Belts

Pictured above are Disability Claims Adjudicators Sean Cunningham (left) and Randall Hicks.


Congratulations to OOD’s newest LeanOhio Camo Belt recipients Sean Cunningham and Randall Hicks. Sean, a Disability Claims Adjudicator (DCA), led a group of subject matter experts in identifying the operational definitions and creating a process map in his Camo Belt training. Randall, also a DCA, sought to complete the Camo Belt training through his own aspirations to learn more about Lean Six Sigma. His project involved creating a process map for the work queue between adjudicators and their reviewers. To receive a Camo Belt both needed to demonstrate competency in the use of methodology and tools learned in their Lean training. The mission of LeanOhio is to make government services in Ohio simpler, faster, better and less costly.

Job Developer Training and Resume Development Videos

OOD staff conducted Job Developer and Resume Building trainings that are now available for viewing on YouTube. The trainings are designed to educate job developers and other providers on expectations of job developers, performance-based services and resume writing.  

Connect to OOD Social Media

Connect to OOD on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to see items like this story about a former OOD Youth Leadership Forum delegate. To view this article, visit our Facebook.   #ConnectToOOD  #OODWorks



Please share this publication and encourage others to subscribe to the OOD Focus E-newsletter on our website. Also, be sure to join us on TwitterFacebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Back to Top