For about a year, the Brown County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been part of a special program intended to help young people graduating high school and adults with disabilities obtain employment.
Transition coordinator for the program, Robert Hatcher said that the Employment First Program as been implemented in all 88 counties of Ohio.
“I joined the staff here a year ago with one goal,” Hatcher said, “to get this program going and help individuals with disabilities get out in the community and work a full or part-time job.
“We’ve been working with the Brown County Chamber of Commerce to get the word out about this great program.”
Job developers work with local businesses to find out what kind of an employee the business looking for and needs. The individual learns how to prepare a resume, decide what their skills and strong points are and then the job search begins.
“Most of the adults with disabilities that we work with have extremely strong and good work ethics,” Hatcher said. “They are dedicated, loyal employees who are capable of doing routine tasks that are currently being done by higher-wage employees.
“We will match the right individual to meet an employees needs and provide job coaching and support.
“The BODD will inform potential employers that certain tax credits are available and ensure transportation for the business owner.”
Hatcher said the DD system has come a long way since the days when young people who graduate from high school only to go right back into a facility for adults with disabilities.
“We also have a wonderful youth program for high school graduates, that actually begins at age 14,” he said. “Funding is available for these young people through the Ohioans with Disabilities Fund.
“We work with all five of Brown County schools on this program and the parents of these young people to find out their personal capabilities, we work with the parents and we work with the young person, so that upon graduation, they could be prepared to be in the workforce.
“I would like to encourage and invite anyone, any business, to contact us to see if we can match the perfect dependable, stable and hardworking employee with their needs.
The BODD serves individuals with disabilities in the following ways:
• Early Intervention (age 0-3)
•Supported Living (age 18 and older)
• Adult Services (by private providers)
• Service and support administration (any age)
• Family support services (any age)
• Abuse/neglect reporting
• Transportation (by private providers)
• Waiver services/administration
• Residential housing
• People First/self advocacy group
• Employment First
To learn more about the Employment First Program or any of the programs offered by the BODD, please call (937) 378-4891.