HireGround Spring 2018

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A Publication for Vocational Rehabilitation 

Professionals and Partners

Spring 2018

Welcome to HireGround!

HireGround is a quarterly newsletter published by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) to provide updates about Ohio’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. OOD’s mission is to provide Ohioans with disabilities quality employment, independence and disability determinations.

Statewide Celebration of In-Demand Jobs


This February, Senate Bill 3 became law, designating the first week of May as In-Demand Jobs Week. The new law stipulates that every year during In-Demand Jobs Week, the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation in collaboration with Ohio’s workforce development agencies, including Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), shall organize activities to raise awareness of jobs that are in demand by employers operating in this state and the requirements and benefits of those jobs.


In-Demand Jobs Week is a statewide, locally-led celebration of jobs, skills and industries that are in high demand among Ohio employers. Business, education and community leaders throughout the state have partnered to plan events and activities to inform students and job seekers about local in-demand jobs.


OOD will be holding six In-Demand Jobs Week events across the state for adults and students with disabilities. These events, including OOD job fairs, employer information sessions and tours of businesses will focus on jobs in manufacturing, retail, health care and more. Check out this In-Demand Jobs Week events map for details on OOD’s events and others around the state. To learn how to plan or find an event near you, visit the In-Demand Jobs Week website.

In-Demand Jobs Week Resources:

Guide for Businesses and Workforce Professionals

Guide for Educators

View Ohio’s 200+ In-Demand Occupations

BSVI Partners on Finding Pathways in Higher Education


Finding the way around the campus at Columbus State Community College is getting easier, thanks to a pilot project between Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities and Columbus State Community College (CSCC.) Audible directions are now available to anyone using an IOS based smart phone app called BlindSquare. These directions offer details such as bus stops, unmarked street crossings or temporary construction sites, as well as providing indoor navigation throughout CSCC campus buildings.


“BlindSquare combines data from GPS outdoors and Bluetooth beacons inside campus buildings for seamless navigation,” says Sarah Kelly, the OOD program administrator who mastered the coding and other skills needed to get this highly customized system going. The project goal involves not only navigating the campus, but also being able to get to campus from several miles out in all directions through the BlindSqEvent app, a free version of BlindSquare available to anyone with an IPhone.


The app targets travelers with wayfinding challenges, such as vision or cognitive impairments, with the goal of facilitating independent travel. This technology offers an increased level of independence to the hundreds of students receiving services from CSCC’s Office of Disability Services. Customized QR codes also make signage accessible to those with literacy barriers. 

Fee Schedule Reporting Template Updates

OOD implemented the new VR Provider Fee Schedule on October 1, 2017. In an effort to ensure continuous quality improvement, OOD recently reconvened a group of providers, VR contractors and OOD staff to discuss feedback on report templates that are now in use. The meeting revealed that overall, the report templates offer all elements needed to satisfy the requirements of each VR service provided. However, a few minor changes are being implemented on the templates as a result of this review. OOD will continue to monitor the VR Fee Schedule post implementation.   


Providers will be informed of any changes via Granicus communication once updated templates are uploaded. Three to four weeks lead time will be granted before using these new report templates once they are available. This allows time for providers to update their systems accordingly.

Pre-Employment Transition Services Updates

Effective October 1, 2017, OOD began contracting with Centers for Independent Living (CIL), Community Centers for the Deaf (CCD), vision service centers and several county boards of developmental disabilities for the provision of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). These contracts have expanded access to Pre-ETS  and include:  Job Exploration Counseling; Work-based Learning; Counseling on Opportunities for Enrollment in Post-secondary Education; Workplace Readiness Training; and Instruction in Self Advocacy.  


Ohio has an estimated 50,000 students with disabilities age 14 and older who are potentially eligible for OOD services. These introductory services are intended to help students with disabilities get an early start in identifying career interests. They are available to students who have been determined eligible for VR services, as well as those who are potentially eligible but have not yet applied. Referrals can come either through vocational rehabilitation counselors or through completion of a Request for Pre-ETS form by a school. You can find the request form, a fact sheet and updated maps providing information about available Pre-ETS here: http://www.ood.ohio.gov/Transition-Students


To date, more than $240,000 has been authorized for these additional Pre-ETS services. Thank you to all who are working hard to coordinate with our community partners in making these important opportunities available.

Program Performance Summary