Governor John Kasich officially launched Ohio’s Employment First Initiative when he signed Executive Order 2012-05K on March 19, 2012. The Executive Order established statewide collaboration and coordination by creating the Employment First Taskforce and Advisory Committee, and made community employment the preferred outcome for individuals with developmental disabilities.
The taskforce is charged with expanding community employment opportunities by reducing barriers and aligning state policy.
- Develop a state level interagency agreement between DODD, ODJFS, ODMH, OOD, ODE and Ohio Board of Regents
These agencies will work together to set common policy, definitions and benchmarks at the state level, outline a statewide funding plan, and develop local interagency agreements at the county level to outline processes, roles and funding.
- OOD, ODE and DODD should work to develop best practices for supporting students with DD to obtain employment upon graduation
The best practices should include a process so that school districts and county boards are using similar methods, and not duplicating efforts. Once these are identified, a training plan should be developed and implemented.
- Develop an Employment First website
The website’s purpose will be to disseminate information, including best practices and highlighting success. It will provide online training and information on training. Tools for individuals, their families and employment professionals will be provided to complete benefit analysis, resume development and links to service providers. The website will hold the system accountable by being a source of data.
- Develop a data collection platform
A point-in-time data collection system, which captures all the people served in the County Board system, needs to be developed and implemented. It will house average hours-worked, wages and type of job data.
- Develop a training plan for providers of services
This training plan will create consensus for all systems involved based on a small set of best practices to help concentrate resources and make the service systems build on one another. Sustainability of the training systems identified will be addressed.
- Develop a communication plan for stakeholders
This plan will focus on marketing Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) and other programs to individuals and families, and educating the field on these programs. Outreach will be conducted to individuals and their families through materials and speaking engagements.
- State rules to outline and implement Employment First Policy
Common definitions and policy will be created. Rules will be identified in each task force to be revised to reflect employment first.
- Use the DODD Adult Services Rule as a starting point for rule revisions
County boards will be required to develop an Employment First Policy and procedure. Each County Board should develop a five year strategic plan to move toward integrated employment. County Boards should create hierarchy of employment/day supports from least to most restrictive, and develop plans to serve people in the least restrictive setting. County boards should also have goals and objectives to support those plans.
- Push Corporate/Business development
Corporations and businesses will be engaged at the statewide capacity through regional trainings conducted by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). Regional groups will be developed to strategize ways to engage businesses. The taskforce will work with JobsOhio to develop marketing strategies to promote the values of hiring individuals with DD.