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Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities 

Executive Summary

Recommendations

The data summarized above and in more detail in the following report suggested several formal recommendations. Recommendations were developed as a prelude to and support for formal planning activities. The recommendations are provided below: 

  1. Increase outreach to individuals with hearing and visual impairments to increase services to these populations. As a result of recommendations made by Governor Kasich’s Workforce Integration Taskforce, OOD has implemented a number of programs to expand services to individuals with hearing and visual impairments in the last three years. However, service rate: need ratios and balance ratios still highlight the need for additional engagement with these populations. OOD should engage the Community Centers for the Deaf, Sight Centers, and other organizations focused on serving individuals with hearing and visual impairments to identify additional opportunities in this regard.

    Sources: Section V. Prevalence and Service Rate: Need Ratio Projections of Unmet Need; Section VI. Balance Ratios: Comparison of Needs to Service Provision

  2. Explore opportunities to expand access to assistive technology resources to support individuals with disabilities to be more independent. OOD should consider allocation of resources for assistive technology resources for individuals with disabilities, particularly those disabilities with a lower service rate: need ratio (e.g. hearing, visual and physical impairments). This could include expansion of BlindSquare installations at appropriate locations throughout the state and other resource allocations to support Ohio’s Technology First Initiative.

    Sources: Section V. Prevalence and Service Rate: Need Ratio Projections of Unmet Need; Section VI. Balance Ratios: Comparison of Needs to Service Provision

  3. Explore the potential causes of service deficits in counties with low balance ratios to identify strategies that might provide greater service delivery rates in those areas. The balance ratio analysis highlighted a number of counties with very low balance ratios, particularly with regard to services for individuals with communicative, hearing, physical, and visual impairments. OOD should explore the causes behind these service deficits and devise strategies to enhance service delivery where needed.

    Sources: Section VI. Balance Ratios: Comparison of Needs to Service Provision

  4. Explore opportunities to increase the availability of work experiences for students with disabilities that more closely resemble the adult workplace through expanded business partnerships. Services provided to students with disabilities with a business partnership focus and that more closely resemble the adult work environment appear to have a substantial correlation to achieving an employment outcome.

    Sources: Section VII. Youth and Students with Disabilities

  5. Expand outreach and information services to youth with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and their parents or other support structures regarding the potential for cessation of benefits at age-18 redetermination of disability and access to VR services. Statistics indicate that nearly half of youth with disabilities (47.8%) who receive SSI will experience a cessation of benefits upon age-18 redetermination during the Continuing Disability Review. In many cases, these youth and their families are not prepared for this loss of income and are unable to quickly transition to other means of generating financial support. In addition to the proposed demonstration project that has been submitted to the Social Security Administration, OOD should explore opportunities under the auspices of additional authorized Pre-Employment Transition Services to expand outreach and information services to these individuals.

    Sources: Section VII. Youth and Students with Disabilities

  6. Increase outreach efforts to colleges and universities to encourage students with disabilities who could benefit from VR services to apply. Students with disabilities enrolled in post-secondary education may benefit from many VR services while pursuing their degree, including career counseling, rehabilitation technology, work experiences, internships, job development services and on-the-job supports. Research indicates that SSI recipients who participate in postsecondary education have access to better employment opportunities and reduced dependence on SSI.

    Sources: Section VII. Youth and Students with Disabilities

  7. Expand the menu of services to business, such as consultation about accommodations, job task analyses and worksite accessibility. By providing these services, OOD can better meet the needs of its dual customer, the employer, and increase opportunities for individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment.

    Sources: Section VIII. Industry Growth and Employer Engagement

  8. Pursue business relationships within those industry sectors that are projected to experience the highest growth. Nearly 19,000 new jobs are projected to be created in the following industries each year: Health Care and Social Assistance; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; and Accommodation and Food Services.

    Sources: Section VIII. Industry Growth and Employer Engagement

  9. Provide VR counselors with training and resources about industries with the largest potential for growth. The industries with the largest potential for growth include Health Care and Social Assistance and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, yet very few OOD participants have a goal on their IPE for an occupation in one of those industries. As part of informed choice, it is recommended that VR counselors review these industry growth projections with participants and where appropriate, focus job goals and training toward these.

    Sources: Section VIII. Industry Growth and Employer Engagement

  10. Consider strategies to assist VR Counselors in serving OOD participants with barriers such as long separations from the job market and employment perceptions. Research from Mathematica indicates that long separations from the workplace and little to no expressed interest in working results in poor employment outcomes for VR participants. Arming counselors with strategies to address these barriers earlier in the process may allow them to offer interventions that lead to better outcomes.

    Sources: Section IX. Survey Results

 

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