OOD State of the State Events, Senate Bill 144 Signed by Governor Kasich, National VR Counselor Appreciation Day, OOD Partners with College on BlindSquare Project

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

What's Inside:

OOD State of the State Events


On March 6th, in anticipation of Governor Kasich’s State of the State address that evening, cabinet directors and staff spent the day in Central Ohio highlighting the positive impact state agencies are making in the area.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) enjoyed a day of events sharing how we accomplish our mission of quality employment and increased independence for individuals with disabilities. Here is OOD Director Kevin Miller's video message about our State of the State activities. The following events illustrate the ways OOD impacts the community. 


Employer Training and Recognition – With participation from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT), OOD recognized local employers for hiring individuals with disabilities. The event, held at Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center (NHCC) – Operated by Columbus Hospitality, highlighted NHCC and The Alpha Group of Delaware, Inc. for their efforts in training individuals with disabilities through the ACE job readiness training program. Also honored were OOD participants who went through the training and are working in the hospitality industry, along with one individual who is currently in the training program. In addition, OOD held our disability etiquette training for area employers.

Nationwide Photos
ODJFS Director Cynthia Dungey and OWT Director Ryan Burgess joined OOD Director Kevin Miller to recognize employers and individuals with disabilities.

OOD Job Seeker Hiring Event at The Ohio State University’s Administration & Planning Division – Ohio State’s Administration & Planning Division recruitment team met with 23 OOD job seekers. They held interviews for job openings and provided information on other employment opportunities. One job seeker was offered a position! The event was a great success and we are optimistic about the possibilities for the remaining job seekers who participated.


OSU Collage
Director Kevin Miller thanks OOD and Ohio State staff for their hard work during the hiring event.


To see highlights from all of our events throughout the day visit our Twitter and Facebook pages. Check out #OHSOTS on Twitter to see what the Governor's Cabinet Directors did as they traveled throughout the Central Ohio community.

Senate Bill 144 Signed by Governor Kasich Creates OOD Council

Senate Bill 144, sponsored by Senator Dave Burke, was signed by Governor Kasich on March 1st and will go into effect May 30th. The bill streamlines the OOD Commissioners, the Governor's Council on People with Disabilities, and the Consumer Advisory Committee into a single, more inclusive council that will provide feedback to OOD on vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. The council will be named Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council. The Governor will appoint members to the OOD Council by April 30th.


“Moving to the OOD Council will improve collaboration with advocacy groups, consumers and their families to ensure quality services for Ohioans with disabilities to achieve meaningful employment and independence,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller.


OOD worked with stakeholder groups to address concerns throughout the legislative process. Proponents of the legislation include Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Deaf Services Center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Ohio Coalition for Education of Children with Disabilities.

The makeup of the council follows criteria established by the federal government. The council will consist of 15 members. Additionally, the existing OOD Commissioners will be rolled onto the council to serve out the remainder of their terms.


The OOD Council will meet quarterly to examine and advise the agency regarding specific aspects of the VR program as outlined in the federal regulations. The council will also be responsible for reviewing state goals and priorities related to the VR services portion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Combined State Plan. OOD will reimburse members for actual expenses associated with serving on the council, such as travel and personal assistance services. For more information, visit New OOD Council Seeking Applications

If you are interested in serving on the OOD Council, you can find an application at Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council Application. To aid in the selection of council members, please specify on the application the seat(s) for which you qualify. Questions can be directed to andrew.conners@ood.ohio.gov.

National Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day

March 22nd is National Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day. Throughout the week of March 19th, OOD will be posting quotes and videos from our counselors on social media. Make sure you are following us on Twitter and Facebook

A Link in the Chain: Lauren Morris

Lauren Morris


Lauren Morris is a caseload assistant in OOD’s Cincinnati regional office. See how she makes a difference and learn something new about the work OOD's vocational rehabilitation employees do every day. To see Lauren’s video, visit A Link in the Chain: Lauren Morris

OOD Partners with College on BlindSquare Project


Finding the way around downtown Columbus is getting easier for individuals with disabilities thanks to a $10,000 pilot grant from OOD combined with support from Columbus State Community College (CSCC). Audio announcements ranging from pinpointing bus stops, unmarked street crossings and temporary construction sites, along with providing indoor navigation throughout CSCC campus buildings, is now available to anyone using a smart phone app called BlindSquare. 


“BlindSquare combines data from GPS outdoors and Bluetooth beacons inside campus buildings for seamless navigation,” said Sarah Kelly, an OOD Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) program administrator who mastered the coding and other skills needed to get this highly customized system going. The project goal is to help individuals with disabilities navigate the campus and the surrounding area from several miles out in all directions. Additionally, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has provided information on bus stop locations and bus routes to riders in the area who utilize the BlindSquare app. 


The app is designed for travelers with wayfinding challenges, such as vision or cognitive impairments, with the goal of facilitating independent travel. This technology can provide an increased level of independence to students receiving services from CSCC’s Disability Services Office. For more information, visit BlindSquare.

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. OOD encourages you and your community to provide support and opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential. For more information, visit Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

Ohio Deaf History Month

Ohio’s first Deaf History Month starts March 13th and runs through April 15th to raise awareness about deaf history and culture throughout the state. Ohio Deaf History Month's beginning date commemorates the date Dr. I. Jordan King was elected as the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in 1988. The ending date recognizes the establishment of our nation's first permanent school for the deaf in 1817. For more information, visit Senate passes legislation establishing Ohio Deaf History Month.

DDD Works to Help Homeless

OOD’s Division of Disability Determination’s (DDD) Homeless/Pre-Release/Special Projects unit works with a variety of community partners, ranging from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to mental health centers, to provide timely, accurate disability decisions for claimants who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Currently, seven OOD adjudicators serve on this team.


The unit also collaborates with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to provide expedited claim determinations for inmates with severe and persistent psychological conditions that meet the Social Security Administration's disability guidelines. The partnership strives to have benefits in place for inmates when they are released from prison. An alliance with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is also in place to provide similar services to patients institutionalized in state psychiatric hospitals.  

Join Ohio in a Statewide Celebration of In-Demand Jobs


In-Demand Jobs Week is a statewide celebration of jobs, industries and skills that are in-demand in Ohio. In-Demand Jobs Week occurs during the first full week in May – this year, May 7-11. Community leaders statewide are encouraged to partner to plan engaging events and activities that will inspire excitement and awareness among students and job seekers. 


What is an In-Demand Job?
An in-demand job or occupation is a job that has a sustainable wage and a promising future based on the projected number of openings and growth.


The following criteria were used to define an in-demand job in Ohio: 

  • Median wage of more than $13.47 per hour
  • Annual growth in the number of jobs greater than the statewide average of 50
  • Annual job openings greater than the statewide average of 230

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit In-Demand Jobs Week.

Connect to OOD

Connect to OOD on TwitterFacebook and YouTube to see items like this USA Today article focusing on individuals with disabilities finding work.  #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