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Governor's Inclusive Employer Award 2022

Media Release - October 17, 2022

(COLUMBUS, OH) - Today, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) announced The Ohio State University & The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as the 2022 Governor’s Inclusive Employer Award winners for their commitment to individuals with disabilities in the workplace and being leaders of diversity and inclusion best practices in Ohio. Watch a video to see highlights from the event.

Moments after taking the oath of office, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Executive Order 2019-03D, which established Ohio as a Disability Inclusion State and a Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities. To reinforce his commitment to Ohioans with disabilities, H.B. 110 included presenting an award during October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) to employers who meet the criteria for having a workplace inclusive of individuals with disabilities.

“Congratulations to The Ohio State University & The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. From their hiring practices to training opportunities, and from workplace supports to their marketing and communications materials, the university and the medical center are keeping their commitment to Ohioans with disabilities,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

“Ohioans with disabilities make excellent employees,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Here in Ohio, we are creating jobs faster than we can find people to fill them, and leveraging this untapped talent pool is a winning strategy for businesses to ensure they have the workforce they need. I congratulate The Ohio State University & The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on taking the proactive initiative that made them worthy of this important recognition.”

Ohio State demonstrated a clear commitment to building and maintaining a community that reflects diversity and improves opportunities for all, including all qualified individuals with disabilities. Each year, Ohio State provides numerous training opportunities to staff on topics related to disability etiquette, awareness, and inclusion. This commitment to disability inclusion begins at the first step of Ohio State’s hiring process. Information on the reasonable accommodation process is provided in each job posting, reviewed during onboarding, and is readily available to current employees who may have a need for an accommodation. Ohio State is committed to showing images of individuals with disabilities in their marketing and communications materials to “create accessible experiences where any Buckeye can envision themselves working”.  

six individuals named stand with a physical award by the podium during the presentation

Left to right: Jay Anderson, Interim Co-Leader and Chief Operating Officer, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; Kevin L. Miller, Director of OOD; Lt. Governor Jon Husted; Jeff Risinger, Senior Vice President Talent, Culture and Human Resources at The Ohio State University; Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, President of The Ohio State University; and Dr. Andrew Thomas, Interim Co-Leader and Chief Clinical Officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“We appreciate our partnership with Ohio State to attract, engage, develop, and retain talented workers with disabilities,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller. “The Ohio State University, including the Wexner Medical Center, has hired 18 OOD participants in the last year.”

“True diversity and equity means every Ohioan is treated with dignity and respect and can operate on a level playing field,” said Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, president of The Ohio State University. “That must include individuals with disabilities, who are too often overlooked - or worse, shunted aside - when it comes to hiring. Data shows that across gender, race, ethnicity, and age, disabled people are, on average, less likely to be employed, earn less, and accumulate less wealth than those without at least one disability. I am proud that The Ohio State University and the Wexner Medical Center are leading the way in reversing this trend, and I congratulate all those who work every day to make their respective workplaces not only inclusive, but welcoming for all.”

“We’re proud to be part of an institution that is committed to inclusion and equity as part of its shared values. At the Wexner Medical Center, we aim to be an example of inclusive excellence where all faculty, staff, and learners have an opportunity to thrive in service to our patients and the community,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, interim co-leader and chief clinical officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Our commitment includes upholding best practices in hiring and supporting Ohioans with disabilities because we recognize and value that people with diverse perspectives working together with common purpose leads to innovation in patient care, research, and education that improves lives. We appreciate this recognition from Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and we look forward to continuing our work to be both a world-class academic medical center and an organization that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

OOD determined the criteria for the award in alignment with its Inclusive Employer Toolkit: Inclusive Workplace; Recruiting, Hiring, and Supporting Employees; Workplace Accommodations; and Workplace Accessibility. A five-member committee used a predetermined scoring rubric focused on the employer’s descriptions of policies, processes, and activities surrounding inclusive employment.

Additionally, Cleveland Clinic and Meijer each scored more than 80 points on their application and are recognized as Ohio Inclusive Employers.

OOD offers its sincere gratitude and appreciation to all employer partners for their commitment to establishing and growing a culture of diversity and inclusion in the Ohio workplace for individuals with disabilities. Employers looking to diversify and strengthen their workforce by including people with disabilities can learn more about partnering with OOD at the Business Relations Team webpage.