The Ohio General Assembly has recently approved legislation that will restructure how Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) receives feedback on vocational rehabilitation services. The legislation (Senate Bill 144 – Burke) will streamline the OOD Commissioners, Consumer Advisory Committee, and the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities into a single, more inclusive OOD Council.
There will be 15 seats on the OOD Council, all of which will be appointed by the Governor. These seats include the following:
(1) One representative of a parent training center established in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
(2) One attorney representative of the client assistance program;
(3) One vocational rehabilitation counselor who has knowledge of and experience with vocational rehabilitation programs. If an employee of OOD is appointed, that appointee shall serve as an ex officio, nonvoting member;
(4) One representative of community rehabilitation program service providers;
(5) Four representatives of business, industry, and labor;
(6) One representative of a disability advocacy group representing individuals with physical, cognitive, sensory and mental disabilities;
(7) One representative of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty in representing themselves or who are unable, due to their disabilities, to represent themselves;
(8) One representative who is a current or former applicant for, or recipient of, vocational rehabilitation services;
(9) One representative from secondary or higher education;
(10) One representative of the State Workforce Development Board;
(11) One representative from the Ohio Department of Education who is knowledgeable about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and
(12) One representative from the Ohio State Independent Living Council.
The OOD Council will meet quarterly to examine and advise OOD regarding specific aspects of the vocational rehabilitation program as outlined in the federal regulations. The OOD Council will also be responsible for reviewing state goals and priorities related to the VR services portion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Combined State Plan. OOD will reimburse members for actual expenses associated with serving on the OOD Council, such as travel and personal assistance services.
If you are interested in serving on the OOD Council, you can find an application at Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council Application. To aid in the selection of council members, please specify on the application the seat(s) for which you qualify. Any questions about the council can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Derek Mortland, ADA and Community Outreach Coordinator