Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) offers a range of services to help students with disabilities 14+ prepare for post-secondary education and employment. OOD works together with students, families, schools/colleges, and community partners to provide services that promote successful transitions to careers and adult life.
Services for Students 14+
Services may include:
- Job Exploration of a Variety of Workplace Settings
- Paid Work Experiences with Job Coaches
- Soft Skills for Work and Independence
- Self-Advocacy (request and accept support)
- Counseling on Educational and Training Options
- Connection to Ongoing Support Option
OOD Services for Students with Disabilities
OOD can help students with disabilities ages 14+ get an early start exploring careers. The agency serves individuals with physical, intellectual, sensory, and mental health disabilities.
If you need a copy of the video for downloading/uploading, please email the Office of Communications (OODOfficeofCommunication@OOD.Ohio.Gov), and a team member will use a shared folder on OneDrive to provide to you.
Pre-Employment Transition Services
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are intended to help students with disabilities, as early as age 14, who could benefit from an early start in exploring career interests. The five services include Job Exploration Counseling; Work-Based Learning; Counseling on Post-Secondary Opportunities; Workplace Readiness Training; and Instruction in Self-Advocacy. These services are brief and delivered by approved Pre-ETS Providers.
Don't delay - connect students today!
Click on video image to get an inside look at Pre-ETS
Teachers play an essential role in identifying students who will benefit from transition services. OOD counselors are ready for your student referrals, can meet virtually, and can link students to virtual services for an early start in exploring career interests.
How Do I Get Started with Pre-Employment Transition Services?
Pre-ETS are available for students who have an open VR case or who are potentially eligible for services.
If a student with a disability wants to open a VR case, they can download an application for VR services by clicking this Link to Application for VR Services. For these students and any student with a disability who has an open VR case, referral for Pre-ETS services may be made through their assigned VR counselor or coordinator. In either situation do not complete the Request for Pre-ETS form.
If a student with a disability does not want to open a VR case at this time, they are considered potentially eligible and may participate in Pre-ETS. School staff must complete and send the Request for Pre-ETS Form along with documentation of the student’s disability to OOD by fax 614-985-8435 or by e-mail email@example.com.
To learn more about Pre-ETS services, please review the below resources:
Pre-Employment Transition Services Fact Sheet
Pre-Employment Transition Services Flyer
Pre-ETS Flyer (Spanish) Conectando a los estudiantes con los servicios de transición pre-empleo
Pre-ETS Subcategories and Traditional Transition Services
How to find a Pre-Employment Transition Service Provider
Making Student Referrals (Transition)
OOD helps students with disabilities successfully transition from school to work. Transition teams work together to develop activities and experiences designed to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to reach their postsecondary goals.
OOD’s goal for successful transition includes planning for, finding and keeping a job prior to exit from high school.
After employment counselors conduct follow-up activities to make sure employment is sustainable.
The following documents provide information about OOD Transition services, eligibility for services, multi-agency transition planning, and guidance on timing of referrals for students with disabilities:
• Transition-Specific Services
• Transition Guidance
• Connecting Students with Work
Completing an Application is as Easy as 1, 2, 3
1. Identify a student
A student's SSN and parent/guardian signature will be needed to open a case.
2. Download an application for services
Download and complete an application, or talk with an OOD liaison to assist with the application process. To learn who is assigned to your school or area, call 800-282-4536.
3. Send application with records securely to the designated email or fax assigned to your county (see map below). Speed up the eligibility process by attaching one or more of the most recently signed:
School records (e.g., ETR, IEP, 504)
County board records (e.g., C/OEDI, ISP, C/FED)
Other medical records and or evaluations (e.g., psychological evaluation, audiogram)
While OOD can take an application at any time, coordination of transition services is most effective when applications are received as early as possible in the school year.
You may obtain all the OOD related documents (i.e policy, procedures, forms, and fact sheets) under number series 80-VR-11-12.
Transition Specific Services
Transition-specific services provided by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) are designed to help students with disabilities (herein referred to as “students”) successfully transition from school to work. While other services are available, based on vocational need, the following describes services intended to help students build skills necessary to move from dependent to independent work activities leading to competitive integrated employment.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) and Developmental Activities
What is it?
These services are intended to help with basic skill development. Students may benefit from Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) including: Job Exploration Counseling; Work-Based Learning Experiences; Counseling on Postsecondary; Workplace Readiness Training; and Instruction in Self Advocacy. Other basic skill development activities may include:
- utilizing the K-12 backpack on www.ohiomeansjobs.com;
- utilizing the “Employment First Job Seekers Guide” on www.ohioemploymentfirst.org;
- interviewing or job shadowing family or friends;
- extra-curricular activities; and
- exploring activities available through school (e.g. job training, shadowing)
Who is it for?
These activities are for students who need to gain a general understanding about employment and/or needs help identifying their career interests.
Summer Youth – Work Experience
Summer Youth Work Experiences provide students (ages 14-21) with a disability the opportunity to explore careers and gain on-the-job training. Learn more from OOD’s Vocational Rehabilitation staff. Watch a video.
What is it?
This service is intended to help the students obtain competitive work skills and prepare for work by participating in community work experiences.
Who is it for?
This service is for students who have: basic work skills; an understanding about the world of work; and a desire to advance their skills to prepare for competitive integrated employment.
How long is the service?
20 hours/week for five (5) weeks. This includes an educational component.
Is the student paid?
Yes, the student will earn at least the minimum wage paid by the employer.
What is the expected outcome of this service?
Upon completion of this service, a student should be able to:
- identify several vocational areas of interest;
- understand the job seeking process;
- demonstrate ability to meet employer expectations with regards to timeliness, hygiene, etc.;
- perform work with increasing independence (e.g. staying on task, retaining instructions); and
- demonstrate appropriate work behaviors (e.g. accept constructive criticism, respect others and their property).
Who provides the service?
An OOD-approved provider. VR Staff or VR Contractors provide information about the work site options offered by each provider.
Non-Permanent Job Development
What is it?
This service is intended to help students obtain non-permanent work, such as a seasonal or after-school job, which will provide work experience and build work history while still in high school. Job coaching can be provided if needed.
Who is it for?
This service is intended for students who have basic work skills but may still have a need for additional job training prior to getting a permanent job.
How long is the service?
Non-permanent job development may initially occur for up to six (6) months.
Is the student paid?
Yes, the student will earn at least minimum wage paid by the employer.
The following is guidance for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), education and other community-based agencies about the delivery and coordination of transition services, provided through OOD, for students with disabilities (herein referred to as “students”), including:
- the roles of OOD VR Staff and VR Contractors in the transition planning process;
- eligibility for OOD transition services and how schools and other community-based agencies can help with this process; and
- timing of referral to OOD for transition services.
Why is Early Engagement in Transition Services so Important?
As students are entering high school, career development activities (e.g. Pre-Employment Transition Services) take on added meaning. This is a natural time for students to begin making more educational choices related to their future career goals. VR Staff and VR Contractors can play an integral role in the planning and evaluation process these students and families are engaged in as they begin high school.
Research1 shows that early engagement of students in transition to work activities leads to better outcomes. If he/she:
- had a job at the time of their exit from school they are 5.1 times more likely to remain employed; and
- had 2 or more authentic, paid work experiences and/or received assistance from 3 to 6 community-based agencies (e.g. OOD) while in school they are more likely to become employed and/or continue his/her education (e.g. college).
1 National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)
It takes an agency neutral, person-centered, outcome-focused approach to coordinate the many resources a student may have available to them for a successful transition from school to work or post-school activities. VR Staff or VR Contractors can be a valuable member of a student’s person-centered planning team (i.e. transition team) to ensure coordination of services, identification of a vocational goal through a Backward Planning process and alignment of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Individual Service Plan (ISP), if applicable.
OOD is committed to helping students use the OhioMeansJobs (OMJ) K-12 Tools, including the Backpack, which can assist in a student’s career development. The student owns this information, and can share access to the Backpack contents with other agencies.
Expertise of OOD VR Staff or VR Contractors
VR Staff or VR Contractors bring vocational expertise to a person-centered planning team that includes the student, parents and/or legal guardians, the school, and other community-based agencies from which the student is eligible for services. VR Staff and VR Contractors work with students and their team to ensure coordination of services, identify employment goals, obtain work incentives counseling if necessary, and provide information about current labor market trends, in-demand jobs and other career-focused information.
Who is eligible for OOD Transition Services?
Transition services through OOD are for students with disabilities, ages 14-21, who have a physical, cognitive and/or mental impairment that causes a barrier to getting or keeping a job. Students must also demonstrate a need for VR services and be able to benefit from VR services in terms of an employment outcome.
Application and Eligibility for OOD Transition Services
- In order to expedite eligibility determination, schools and other partners are encouraged to provide any information regarding the student’s functional limitations and existing documentation they may have about a student’s disability at the time of referral for services (e.g. ETR, IEP, FED form, OEDI, COEDI, other related medical and psychological reports). OOD’s agency goal is to make an eligibility determination within 30 days. It should not take longer than 60 days if existing information is readily available.
- Any assistance the school may be able to provide to help coordinate the first meeting (i.e. initial interview), which must include the student and if applicable, his/her parent or legal guardian, is greatly appreciated and helps to ensure timely eligibility determination.
When Should a Student Apply for OOD Transition Services?
Students can apply for services starting at age 14. Students who apply to OOD may be in different stages in terms of their career development, therefore, the timing for referral to OOD should be made on a case by case basis, considering vocational need. The following guidelines may be helpful in determining potential entry points, depending on an individual student’s circumstances.
Potential Entry Points for Referral to OOD Transition Services
Career Tech Interest
School to Work
Students who require extended education services and defer diploma
Online/Home School Students
Form 80-VR-11-12.A Transition Guidance
Ohio Transition Support Partnership
The Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP) is designed to help students with disabilities, beginning at age 14, gain the skills they need to prepare for in-demand careers.
OTSP, a partnership between OOD and the Ohio Department of Education, connects students with vocational rehabilitation counselors who provide individualized transition services:
- Career exploration
- Work-based learning experiences
- Counseling on post-secondary education
- Paid work experiences
- Job coaching & retention
As an active participant of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meetings, the vocational rehabilitation counselor helps with earlier career preparation and coordination with the school and others agencies supporting the student.
For more information, please contact Julie Hance, Supported Employment and Transition Supervisor, at Julie.Hance@ood.ohio.gov or 614-562-5345.
Youth Leadership Forum
We are pleased to announce, OOD has contracted again with the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (OSILC). Together with the local Centers for Independent Living (CILs), they will be offering five regional in-person Youth Leadership Forums (YLF) and one statewide virtual YLF this summer for high school juniors and seniors interested in leadership and advocacy.
Students from anywhere in the state may participate in the virtual YLF or one of the following regional events (preferably in the same region as their home): Canton, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton/Cincinnati, and Toledo. Students will need to complete a YLF application and be eligible for OOD services to participate in this program. For more information, please visit http://www.ohiosilc.org/youth-leadership-forum/ or contact Christina Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 614-809-1513.
YLF Flyer (Spanish): Foro de liderazgo de jóvenes de Ohio
YLF Regional Flyer Word
YLF Regional Flyer (Spanish): Foros Regionales de Liderazgo Juvenil de Ohio
Student Delegates Reflect on 2020 YLF
Click the image above to watch the 2020 youtube video when YLF went virtual
Megan Zahneis' Testimony (Cincinnati, OH)
Are You a High School Junior or Senior with a Disability and Interested in Self-Advocacy & Leadership Development?
At the Youth Leadership Forum You Will:
- Learn about choosing a career
- Learn about up-to-date available resources and assistive technology
- Identify existing barriers to personal and professional success and develop plans to overcome those barriers
- Interact with professionals with disabilities who serve as mentors and role models
- Develop a Personal Leadership Plan, which includes specific action steps to follow when you return to your community
- Gain the power to reach your goals in education, employment and community leadership
- Spend five days with peers developing a social network
For more information contact:
Julie Hance, Supported Employment and Transition Supervisor
150 East Campus View Blvd., Suite 300
Columbus, Ohio 43235-4604