Matt Campbell, Superintendent
Ohio's Employment First Initiative

Department of Developmental Disabilities Director John Martin and Governor John Kasich met on March 19, 2012 in a press conference to announce Ohio's Employment First Initiative. The initiative included legislation and an Executive order to improve collaboration among the Departments of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, Education, Job and Family Services, and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. July 1, 2013 a partnership was formed between the Department of Developmental Disabilities and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) which is part of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. This partnership affected Carroll Hills Industries by OOD hiring a counselor to help 5 individual per year find jobs in the community.

The Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities is taking a proactive role to meet the Employment First Initiative. The Board adopted the 2014 to 20 18 Strategic Plan and 2014 Annual Action Plan on January 23, 2014. The Board hired Sabrina Seal as job coach on January 27, 2014. The Board also adopted an Employment First Policy on March 27, 2014.

The Board Adopted Employment First policy states the Board shall promote community employment as the desired outcome for all individuals of working age. Each individual of working age shall participate in an individualized person-centered planning process. The Board shall outline and periodically update its strategies and benchmarks for increasing the number of individuals employed in the community. The Board shall collaborate with local mental health agencies, local workforce agencies, and school districts. Information will be disseminated to individuals, families, schools, community, employers, and providers of service about Medicaid buy-in and other work incentive programs. Data will be collected on type of services provided, how individuals obtained employment, hours worked, wages earned, occupations and this data will be shared with Department of Developmental Disabilities, individual's team, and the public.

The Board and the job coach will be responsible to identify all 14 year old and older individuals that may be eligible for Board services. The job coach will contact Carrollton, Malvern, Minerva, and Conotton Valley High Schools to identify and help students with a transition plan that will lead to community employment. Carroll Hills School is already working on job readiness skills for students age 14 to 21. The Job Exploration and Training program will be opened up to all Carroll County students eligible for Board services.

The Board will be shutting the front door or, in other words, limiting those who can enter the workshop. All individuals of working age must go through the community employment program and can only enter the workshop if an assessment shows they are unable to work in the community. Carroll Hills mowing crew and janitorial crew will be open for those needing job training. Those who are currently receiving services at Carroll Hills Industries may remain there as long as they wish.

Our Board is focused on meeting Federal and State guidelines to increase options for community employment. Resources will be shifted to ensure individuals with disabilities will have options to work in the community and be paid at least minimum wage.