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    Summer Youth Work Experiences for Students with Disabilities

    Photos of six different participants at their Summer Youth work setting

    Participants of 2022 Summer Youth Work Experiences.

    Summer Youth Work Experiences for students with disabilities are underway throughout Ohio. The program provides students (ages 14-21) with a disability the opportunity to explore the world of work and gain on-the-job training.


    Approximately 2,600 students across the state are participating in summer jobs, with additional younger students being supported to explore and prepare for their first job experiences.


    Summer work experiences help students build confidence and learn essential skills in a job setting. Youth are assigned to work sites based on their interests and abilities, and safeguards are in place to promote health and safety. While working at job sites, students receive support from a job coach and earn minimum wage. 


    Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) give students with disabilities, as early as age 14, an early start in exploring career interests. Five core services include Job Exploration Counseling, Work-Based Learning, Counseling on Post-Secondary Opportunities, Workplace Readiness Training, and Instruction in Self-Advocacy.


    Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Director Kevin Miller said, “Summer Youth Work Experiences build job awareness, skills, and self-reliance. These experiences give students with disabilities a foundation for a great career.” 


    OOD works with 106 vocational rehabilitation providers throughout the state to offer Summer Youth Work Experiences. “Providers are key to the success of this program for students,” explained Jay Burns with the OOD Provider and Contract Management Unit. “They provide structure, help students practice accountability, and offer meaningful feedback.”


    Chelsea Ashcraft is the Assistant Director of Employment and Community Based Services at Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries. She explained, “For over a decade, Goodwill has partnered with OOD to provide a work experience opportunity to youth within its community. This experience is a paid work opportunity that allows participants to identify interests, abilities, and preferences while obtaining new skills and knowledge on employment. Once the service is complete, the participant is provided service and support recommendations that will assist them in achieving success in future employment.”


    If you have a child 14 years or older with a disability, reach out to OOD for more information on how we can help your child with career exploration, skill development, and strategies to get a job after graduation. Counselors begin talking with students and their parents about next summer’s opportunities starting in the fall. To find out more, visit the OOD Students 14+ webpage


    OOD Assists Job Seekers

    Photo of young woman shaking hands with someone Text: OOD Logo  In July 2022, we helped 366 people reach their goal of employment


    If you or somebody you know has a disability and would like to work, reach out to OOD today. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors can help you explore your options. Visit OODWorks.com or call 800-282-4536 to get started. 


    Annual Report Highlights Commitment to Ohioans with Disabilities

    Kaleidoscope design featuring photos of  OOD participants  TEXT:  OOD Logo Annual Report 2021-2022

    The OOD Annual Report for Federal Fiscal Year 2021 and State Fiscal Year 2022 is now available on the OOD website. Read it to learn more about efforts over the last 12 months to empower Ohioans with disabilities through quality employment, disability determinations, and independence. 


    Free Webinar Series for Employers

    Graphic of figures  with different disabilities  TEXT: The Employer's Reasonable Accommodation Handbook Session Two: Physical Disabilities


    Thursday, August 18, 2022

    10 - 11 a.m. 


    OOD is pleased to host a six-part webinar series – The Employers’ Reasonable Accommodation Handbook. In Session Two: Physical Disabilities, learn best practices for navigating the interactive process with employees who have physical disabilities, ways to foster a disability-inclusive workplace, and ideas for providing effective reasonable accommodations.


    The webinar will be hosted by OOD's Worksite Accessibility Specialist, Julie Wood OTR/L, ADAC and Career Development Specialist, Dustin Schwab.


    Please respond here to let us know you're attending. This will assist us in making sure we are sharing any updates, attachments, and resources before and after the event. If you have already registered to attend this webinar series, you do not need to register again. You have the option to register for one or all upcoming webinars in this series. All webinars begin at 10 a.m.

    • Session Three: Mental Health Disabilities, September 14, 2022
    • Session Four: Neurodiversity at Work, October 19, 2022
    • Session Five: Sensory Disabilities, November 17, 2022
    • Session Six: What Can I Ask and Why?, December 14, 2022

    The webinars will take place as Microsoft Teams Live Events. You can view the training through your web browser, and you do not need to have Microsoft Teams to participate. Click here to join Session Two.


    OOD is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, activities, and programs in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws. To request an accommodation based on a disability, please contact Chris Glover at Chris.Glover@ood.ohio.gov by August 11, 2022.


    Each webinar in this series has been approved for 1.00 HR (General) re-certification credit hour toward aPHR™, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™, and SPHRi™ re-certification through HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) and 1.00 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) hour toward SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®. While this training is not pre-approved for CESP Continuing Education (CE) credit, it aligns with CESP content, and verification of attendance will be provided upon request.

    Graphic of  HRCI Seal and SHRM Certification logo

    Sensory-Friendly Morning at the Ohio State Fair

    Photo of OOD executive staff members with Shawn Henry  Executive Director of OCALI

    Erik Williamson, OOD Assistant Director; Kevin Miller, OOD Director; Susan Pugh, OOD Deputy Director of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation; Shawn Henry, Executive Director of OCALI; and Greg Dormer, OOD Deputy Director of the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired.

    In collaboration with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), the Ohio State Fair turned down the lights and volume during the sensory-friendly morning that took place on August 4, 2022. Fairgoers were able to enjoy the rides with no flashing lights or music, visit the Fair’s educational activities, take a break in the air-conditioned Quiet Room, and enjoy the shade and accessible playground at the Natural Resources Park.


    Staff with OOD and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities were on hand to support the event. 


    OOD Staff front of the Sensory Quiet room at the Ohio State Fair

    OOD staff from left to right: Kim Jump, Greg Dormer, Susan Pugh, Michael Graham, Director Kevin Miller, Vicki Friesland, Maria Seaman, Janine Ashanin, Kimberlyn Price, Marshawn Kerner, Rick Schanz, and Assistant Director Erik Williamson.


    Empowerment, Independence, and Stability through STABLE Account

    Photo of Ohio State Treasurer Robert Sprague

    By Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague


    August is ABLE to Save Month, and there is no better time to raise awareness about the life-changing impact ABLE accounts can make for people living with disabilities.


    With costs rising on nearly everything we buy and ongoing economic challenges nationwide, Ohio families are feeling the squeeze. And, as many know all too well, disability-related expenses can pose additional financial strains.


    However, in the Treasurer’s office, we have a powerful tool to help alleviate some of those financial pressures, unlock each person’s potential, and make our communities and economy stronger. Through STABLE Account – Ohio's ABLE program – the Treasurer’s office plays a key role in the effort to enhance financial independence and stability for people living with disabilities and their families.


    Before STABLE accounts, people living with disabilities could only save $2,000 before losing means-tested benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These old rules discouraged saving and investing, and asset limits often kept individuals living on the financial margins.


    STABLE accountholders can save up to $16,000 each year without jeopardizing federal assistance. If the accountholder is employed, they can save an additional $12,880 each year. Earnings on STABLE accounts grow tax-free, as long as funds are spent on qualified expenses, such as education, transportation, healthcare, assistive technology, personal support services, and many others.


    For individuals living with disabilities and their families, a STABLE account can be life-changing as it provides a secure and sound way to manage funds and navigate various disability-related expenses. Additionally, for those wishing to enter the workforce, opening an account can help build the foundation for independence throughout adulthood. We’ve heard many stories of accountholders buying cars, paying rent, and even putting down payments on their first homes. This financial stability is powerful and can provide the peace of mind that comes with a plan for the future.


    As the nation’s first and premier ABLE program, STABLE Account now serves nearly 30,000 accountholders. In the Buckeye State, we’ve seen how STABLE accounts improve financial stability, promote independence, and improve quality of life. There’s always more work to be done, but during ABLE to Save Month, we have plenty to celebrate.


    We encourage you to share this information with anyone you know who could benefit from a STABLE account. Signing up for an account is easy – it only takes about 20 minutes and can be done from the safety and comfort of home. For more information about STABLE accounts and to sign up, visit StableAccount.com.


    All About Accessibility: Free Online Parenting Program

    Photo of young mother's face close to her toddler's face

    This summer, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a partnership with the Governor’s Children’s Initiative, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), and the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund to bring free parent education materials to Ohio families. Providing this program aligns with the Governor’s Children Services Transformation Advisory Council’s recommendation to “invest in services, training, and supports for parents.”


    “Triple P’s positive approach will help build parenting skills while providing needed resources and to help parents promote their children’s resiliency and build stronger families,” said Governor DeWine. “With the implementation of this program, I am pleased to see more recommendations of the Children’s Services Transformation Advisory Council achieved.”


    “Ohio chose the Triple P Positive Parenting Program to support Ohio families because it was university-developed and is backed by over 35 years of ongoing research,” said Ohio Children’s Trust Fund Executive Director Lindsay Williams. “The skills caregivers learn can prevent problems in the family, school, and community before they arise and create family environments that encourage children to realize their potential.”


    The Triple P program is available to all families in Ohio and is provided through a $3 million investment by The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund and ODJFS.


    “Triple P’s online parenting support has been shown to build emotional resilience, problem-solving skills, and healthy self-esteem in the children whose parents and caregivers complete the modules,” said ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder. “We are making this investment in our future because we believe that strong families develop strong children who turn into strong adults.”


    Ohio families are encouraged to visit the Triple P website to sign up for the program. 


    In the News

    40 Richland County Students with Disabilities Participate in Summer Work Program

    Richland Source, 8-1-22


    Knox County Students with Disabilities Participate in Summer Employment

    Knox Pages, 8-1-22


    Gov. DeWine Celebrates Grand Opening at the Ohio State Fair

    The Times Leader, 8-1-22


    Helping Students With Developmental Disabilities Thrive in the Workplace

    Nationwide Children’s News, 8-3-22


    Learning on the Job

    Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, 8-3-22


    Cleveland.com Reporter Shares Special Connection with Ohio Foundation Helping Visually Impaired Youth

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    New “Smart” Apartments Give People with Disabilities Ability to Live Independently

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    Disabled Mother, Four Kids Getting Home with Nonprofit's Help

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    “Autistic Person” or “Person With Autism”?

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    Thrive Living Proposes Berea Housing for Developmentally Disabled

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    Deaf Hollywood is Getting Its Due

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    Smart Glasses Allow Deaf People to See Real-Time Conversation Captions

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