Ohio’s Employment First Initiative was officially launched when Executive Order 2012-05K was signed 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.
Ohio’s Employment First Taskforce
The Employment First Taskforce (EF) agreed that meaningful work has significant benefits for all working age adults, including people with developmental disabilities. People with developmental disabilities have the right to make informed decisions about where they work, and to have opportunities to obtain community jobs that result in greater earnings, better benefits, improved health, and enhanced quality of life. In addition, meaningful employment offers individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to bolster self-esteem, expand their network of natural supports, make friends, and demonstrate their professional abilities in a public setting. These benefits all contribute to the diversity of our workforce and enrichment of our community.
The founding statute for Ohio’s Employment First policy was approved and placed in Ohio Revised Code (ORC 5123.022), stating that employment services for people with developmental disabilities shall be directed at community employment. In July 2013, this statute language was enhanced, clarifying that community employment means competitive employment in an integrated setting, and that all people with developmental disabilities are presumed capable of community employment.
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities filed a stand-alone Rule (5123:2-2-05) to implement the Employment First policy of the state which was in effect April 1, 2014. This rule outlines a person-centered process for all working-age adults that identifies strengths, interests and abilities, and identifies a person’s place on the path to community employment; and ensures that all individuals with developmental disabilities have opportunities to be engaged in community employment.
Employment First is shifting expectations for a cultural transformation
Every person has abilities, skills, and talents to enrich the community and people around us. We envision a time when every working-age adult with developmental disabilities has opportunity to explore their career options and seek jobs that fit their skills and interests. Every person should expect that community employment is the preferred outcome for working-age adults with developmental disabilities.
Employment First enhances lives by creating greater opportunities for all people to advance their careers. Individuals can use their strengths and talents to increase their economic wealth, have a sense of accomplishment and create their own social identity.
Working-age adults…working. And to achieve this, an array of services and supports that help people get jobs, keep jobs, get better jobs, get to and from jobs, and have meaningful lives outside their jobs. Ohio recognizes there are times people don’t or won’t work: people retire, get sick, get fired, quit, have setbacks, and even times when the people supporting them just can’t figure out what kind of job they could do. Services and supports are available during those times as well, to help people understand their options, discover ways to contribute, connect and participate meaningfully in their communities.
Array of Services and Supports
Person-centered services available through a home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver can help meet a person’s needs. The Adult Day Services or Adult Day Array are terms for programs that cover an array of non-residential services that help an individual acquire, retain or improve self-help, socialization, and adaptive skills, inclusive of:
- Adult Day Services
- Adult Day Support
- Employment Services
- Vocational Habilitation
- Group Employment Supports
- Career Planning
- Individual Employment Supports
- Non-Medical Transportation
Adult Day Services
Adult Day Support
Adult Day Support (ADS) is a Medicaid service described in rule 5123:2-9-17 and 5123:2-9-19 of the Ohio Administrative Code. ADS helps a person build connections in their community. With this service people can learn about:
- how to meet and talk with new people,
- what activities are in their community,
- how to get places independently,
- and what jobs are available in their area.
While taking part in ADS services, a person can have help with personal care, such as going to the restroom, eating meals, and taking medication.
Vocational Habilitation is often called Voc Hab for short. It is a Medicaid service described in rule 5123-2-9-14 which provides learning and work experiences, including volunteer work, that help to develop skills that lead to integrated community employment in a job that matches the person’s interests, strengths, priorities, and abilities. With this service, someone can learn how to:
- take care of personal care needs in a workplace, things like hygiene, meals, and taking medication,
- interact with customers, co-workers, and other people in the workplace,
- speak up for themselves at work,
- arrange and use transportation to get to and from work, and
- advance on the path to community employment.
Group Employment Support
Group Employment Support (GES) is a Medicaid service described in rule 5123-2-9-16 that can help a person learn new job skills that will help them get a job they want in the community. It is a service that helps people:
- learn to work with other people,
- make lists of work tasks,
- plan for working in the community,
- learn ways to get to and from work,
- and understand how to work as part of a group.
Group Employment Support activities are provided in a business, industry, or community settings for groups of two or more people with disabilities, and can include:
- person-centered employment planning,
- learning how to work at a job site,
- job analysis,
- job coaching,
- and training about planning, arranging, and using transportation.
People taking part in this service may work at one location or the group may travel to a few different locations to work. Group Employment Support is provided in community settings such as businesses and industries, which offers groups of workers with disabilities paid employment and work experience. This includes individuals who work as a team, generally at a single worksite of a host community business or industry, within initial training, supervision, and ongoing support provided by on-site staff.
Group Employment Support is provided in three different ways.
- The person works in self-contained enclaves within a company or at a service site in the community, or performs multiple jobs at the company, but is not integrated with employees of the company without disabilities.
- Mobile work crews include people operating as a distinct unit or self-contained business working in several locations within the community.
- Provider owned businesses includes individuals who work individual or as a team at a single community business or industry where the Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Provider or an ICF Day Services Provider is also the employer (i.e., issues the paycheck to the individual employee and also provides the individual services).
- make a plan to help them get the kind of job they want,
- start a business,
- work with their employer and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities to make sure they have what they need to do their job,
- getting an internship or apprenticeship,
- and figuring out how working can change benefits for things like Medicaid, Social Security, or food assistance.
Career Planning services are intended to be time-limited and personalized to support people in reaching their community employment goals and includes activities such as:
- career exploration,
- benefits education and analysis,
- career discovery,
- employment/self-employment plan,
- job development,
- self-employment launch,
- and worksite accessibility.
The outcome of Career Planning is for the person to find competitive, integrated employment or career advancement in a competitive, integrated job.
Individual Employment Support
Individual Employment Support (IES) is a Medicaid service described in rule 5123-2-9-15 and 5123-2-9-19 that can help a person learn how to do a new job or get better at their current job. It supports someone to learn about different job tasks, technology that can make their job easier, and how to work more easily with other people.
This service includes:
- job coaching,
- training for Assistive Technology used on the job,
- other workplace support services, including services not specifically related to job skill training, that help the person succeed in integrating into their job setting,
- and person care and assistance.
Individual Employment Support is provided in a way that matches the person’s interests, strengthens, priorities, and abilities, while meeting their personal and career goals.
NMT includes transportation to get to, from, or among:
- a place of employment,
- a location where Adult Day Support, Career Planning, Group Employment Support, Individual Employment Support, or Vocational Habilitation is provided to the individual,
- a volunteer activity,
- a post-secondary educational program,
- an internship or practicum, and
- a drop-off or transfer location from which the individual is then transported to or from one of the above locations.
This dataset contains the number of people utilizing each of these services within the Adult Day Array. These services have been combined into the following categories within the data visualizations:
Traditional Adult Day/Vocational Habilitation
- Adult Day Support (Regular, Contract with ODA, Community Integration)
- Vocational Habilitation (Regular and Community Integration)
- Group Employment Support
- Individual Employment Support
- Career Planning
- Benefits Education and Analysis
- Career Discovery
- Career Exploration
- Employment/Self-Employment Plan
- Job Development
- Self-Employment Launch
- Situational Observation and Assessment
- Worksite Accessibility
- Is Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation delivered in group sizes of 4 or less in non-traditional locations or virtually
- Is Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation delivered in group sizes less than 10 in traditional settings
- Transportation that transports a person to their day services, employment services, or places of employment.
About the data
July 16, 2021
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