In-Demand Jobs Week, Governor Signs Bill To Provide Information To Law Enforcement Officers To Communicate Better with Individuals with Communication Disabilities

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

What's Inside:

OOD Participates In Six In-Demand Jobs Week Events

On May 9th, more than 150 OOD job seekers and Wright State University students, served by the university's disability services office, attended a job fair hosted by OOD.


Last week, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities participated in events celebrating the first In-Demand Jobs Week - May 7-11. More than 140 events were planned to connect Ohioans with local in-demand career opportunities. OOD held six In-Demand Jobs Week experiences across the state for adults and students with disabilities. This included job fairs, employer information sessions and tours of businesses that focused on jobs in manufacturing, retail, health care and more.

  • Jobs in Manufacturing Day – On May 7th, OOD’s East-Central Region hosted an informational event at the Stark County OhioMeansJobs Center featuring manufacturing companies for more than 20 local job seekers and students with disabilities interested in manufacturing jobs.
  • CVS Regional Learning Center Tours – On May 8th, OOD’s Northeast Region held tours and information sessions at two different CVS training facilities (the CVS Regional Learning Center in Twinsburg and Polaris Career Center in Middleburg Heights) for more than 60 OOD job seekers and students with disabilities.
  • Job Fair at Wright State University – On May 9th, OOD’s Southwest Region hosted a job fair with more than 40 employers present for nearly 200 OOD job seekers and students served by the university’s disability services office.
  • Health Care Employer Forum and Job Fair – On May 10th, OOD’s Northwest Region joined the Lucas County OhioMeansJobs Center for an employer forum and job fair featuring health care employers for more than 35 job seekers, including several OOD participants.
  • DHL Supply Chain Tour – Also on May 10th, OOD’s Southeast Region held a tour and information session at DHL Supply Chain near Columbus for 10 OOD job seekers.

Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for more on these successful events. Additional photos can be viewed on the OOD In-Demand Jobs Week Events photo album.

Governor Signs Bill To Provide Information To Law Enforcement Officers To Communicate Better with Individuals with Communication Disabilities

Pictured on the left are OOD Director Kevin Miller and his son, Connor, as they watch Governor Kasich sign House Bill 115 into law.


A bill that empowers individuals with communication disabilities provides information to law enforcement officers was signed by Governor John Kasich on May 2, 2018. House Bill 115, sponsored by Representatives Scott Wiggam and Theresa Gavarone, was unanimously passed by the Ohio Legislature on April 11th.


Anyone with a diagnosed communication disability can voluntarily enroll in a database that connects to the LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System). An officer will then be made aware that the driver, or a person in the vehicle, may have difficulty communicating with the officer. The initiative will help avoid a situation that could become harmful to an individual with a communication disability or an officer.


“The passing of this bill is important to all individuals with communication disabilities and their families,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller. “I know personally how much parents worry when their child with autism or a hearing disability is driving on their own. My son, Connor, is on the autism spectrum, and this tool can make a difference when a traffic stop occurs.”


OOD will provide a form on the agency’s website that individuals can take to their licensed medical practitioner, who can validate that the individual has a communication disability. The information will be protected by the state firewall and is not public. Individuals will also have the option to opt out of the database at any point.


OOD is working with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the disability community and plans to have the program running this fall. Groups that supported House Bill 115 are the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Deaf Services Center, Ohio Association for the Deaf, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Watch Director Miller’s video.

OOD Staff Recognized with Excellence in Service Awards



Thirteen OOD employees from across the state were honored on May 8th with OOD’s Excellence in Service Awards. These awards recognize and reward staff who have performed above and beyond in their efforts to improve customer satisfaction and job performance, as well as encourage creativity, innovation and initiative.


The 2018 honorees are:

  • Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation – Jim Gears, a vocational rehabilitation program specialist, was recognized for his ability to manage intense work volume while providing conscientious and meticulous service to our staff and providers, thus raising the quality of service provided to OOD participants.
  • Support Division, Information Technology – Michael Davis is an information technologist, who has provided exemplary customer service to the southeast area team, enabling them to better assist our participants in that region.
  • Support Division, RSA 911 Team – Pam Laing (program administrator), Kim Ocasio (software development specialist) and Bruce Willis (database administrator specialist) were recognized for their dedication, hard work and service in collaborating on federal compliance reporting requirements that resulted in timely and accurate reports.
  • Division of Disability Determination – Mary Walcutt, a disability claims adjudicator, was recognized for her role in piloting a nationwide disability case processing system for which her work received national attention.
  • Division of Disability Determination – Wendy Rutter, a disability claims specialist, was recognized for filling multiple roles within the DDD, and for using her knowledge and expertise to improve the training process and program for new adjudicators.
  • Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation – Todd Banks, Loria Ritchart, Samantha Ripley, Candace Massengill-Thomas, LeAndra Capers and Megan Dalton (career resource caseload assistants), consistently went above and beyond their duties to provide information and career counseling services to individuals employed under sub-minimum wage certificates so they can make informed choices about participation in competitive integrated employment. They provided services to more than 10,000 individuals within the span of six months. 

 Congratulations to all of the award recipients!

Independent Living Older Blind Program: More Than Tech & Talk

OOD’s Independent Living Older Blind Program (ILOB) provides services to Ohioans age 55 and older whose blindness or visual impairment creates challenges for independent living. 


Many older adults struggle with macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. The resulting reduced vision can trigger loss of independence and confidence with tasks that were formerly routine. Reading product labels or mail may become too difficult. Lighting in the home may appear dim. Tasks like identifying the right microwave buttons, pouring a glass of water or writing a check suddenly feel insurmountable. 


ILOB coordinators conduct in-depth eligibility interviews at participants’ homes for clients with low vision, but the assessment includes numerous issues. Participant safety is the program’s top priority. They are asked about supports provided by family or friends, transportation issues, how meals are provided, how bills are paid, medication management, and any medical issues that require close supervision. Often OOD helps with referrals for long term care resources, or offer other needed supports, as appropriate. By the end of such detailed assessments, the ILOB coordinator has built enough trust that he/she is able to follow up with other entities such as local agencies on aging on participants’ behalf, based on the needs outside the scope of the ILOB program.


While clients await low-vision services such as independent travel or mobility from certified staff of the vendors of their choice, ILOB coordinators can provide basic technology and in-home training. For example, ILOB staff can train participants in adaptive equipment such as talking clocks and large button phones, handwriting tools such as large print address books, bold-line paper or large print check registers. Not only does this allow OOD to work directly with clients and continue building that relationship, but it also helps to renew their confidence and independence. For more information about services, visit Independent Living Older Blind.

May is Older Americans Month



Older Americans Month is an annual event that honors older Americans and celebrates the contributions they have made, and continue to make to the nation and their communities. For more information about services and supports that improve and promote the quality of life and choices for older Ohioans, visit the Ohio Department of Aging.

Compassionate Allowance Program Makes Quick Decisions on Social Security Benefits

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disorder of upper and lower motor neurons. Difficulty breathing and swallowing are later symptoms; paralysis can also develop. The cause of ALS is not known and no cure exists. After the onset of this disease, death usually occurs within two to five years.


ALS is one of the many conditions recognized by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowance program. OOD’s Division of Disability Determination (DDD) identifies claims where the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets SSA’s statutory standard for disability. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, DDD can easily identify potential compassionate allowance claims and notify the claimant of the award in a matter of days. In some cases, approval occurs on the same day.

Business Enterprise Program Holds Annual Statewide Conference

Business Enterprise Program operators receive years of service certificates at their conference. (Back row left to right: Joe Hall, Jim Debus, Aaron Hopkins, Mark Wood, Jim Lutz and Annette Lutz. Front row left to right: Dan Hall, Shelbi Hindel, Paul Brothers and Windsor – service dog.)


OOD’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP) held their annual statewide conference on May 4th with the Ohio Vendors Representative Committee’s (OVRC) annual meeting on May 5th. More than 80 BEP operators, prospective operators in training, BEP staff, speakers and special guests attended the conference.


The conference offered an opportunity for members to network, receive updates on the Ohio Business Gateway Project, and listen to speakers present on professional development trends, planograms for visual merchandising products, assistive technology, and much more. In addition, operators were recognized for their years of service.  


OOD’s BEP provides people who are legally blind with employment opportunities as managers and operators of food service facilities. For more information, visit Business Enterprise Program.

Connect to OOD on Social Media

Connect to OOD on TwitterFacebook and YouTube to see items like this about how the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners works to benefit all guide, hearing and service dog partners, their friends and families, and assistance dog raisers, trainers families and providers. #ConnectToOOD   OODWorks 



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