[Ohio-talk] Workforce Integration Task Force

Eric Duffy peduffy63 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 1 03:22:10 UTC 2015


Richard asked for a copy of this report a few days ago.

Deborah indicated that it is available on NFB-NEWSLINE. Last I checked, only the Executive Summary is available that way. Here is the complete report.



Workforce Integration Task Force 
Final Report to Governor John R. Kasich 


TABLE OF CONTENTS 

A MESSAGE FROM THE CO-CHAIRS ............................................................................................................................ 3 


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................................................................................... 3 


Background ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 4 


INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................................ 7 


Key Task Force Findings on Barriers to Employment......................................................................................................................... 9 


Specific Barriers................................................................................................................................................................................ 9 


Recommendations...........................................................................................................................................................................13 
Recommendation #1: OOD and ODJFS Collaboration on Uniform and Effective Communication.....................................................13 
Recommendation #2: Business to Business Engagement...................................................................................................................14 
Recommendation #3: Building a Culture of Diversity & Inclusion ...................................................................................................... 15 
Recommendation #4: Explore Ways to Connect Employers with Individuals with Disabilities .......................................................... 16 
Recommendation #5: Developing Standards for Services .................................................................................................................. 17 
Recommendation # 6: Working Group on Program Alignment.......................................................................................................... 18 
Recommendation #7: Disincentives to Work...................................................................................................................................... 19 
Recommendation #8: Access to Pre-vocational and Vocational Training.......................................................................................... 19 
Recommendation #9: Immersive and Hands on Training .................................................................................................................. 20 
Recommendation #10: Transportation...............................................................................................................................................21 


CONCLUSION................................................................................................................................................................... 22 


APPENDIX A: WORKFORCE INTEGRATION TASK FORCE MEMBERS........................................................... 24 


APPENDIX B: SURVEY DATA FOCUS GROUP SUMMARY................................................................................... 26 


Questionnaires ................................................................................................................................................................................26 


Focus Groups...................................................................................................................................................................................27 


APPENDIX C: DEMOGRAPHICS AND ANALYSIS GUIDE ..................................................................................... 28 


................................................................................................................................................................................................... 


2 


A Message from the Co-Chairs 

December 30, 2014 

Six short months ago, Ohioís General Assembly passed legislation creating the Workforce 
Integration Task Force. Requested as part of Governor John R. Kasichís Mid-Biennium Review, 
the task force was charged with gathering and analyzing data in order to make 
recommendations regarding barriers to employment and income parity for Ohioans who are 
deaf or blind. The goal is to better understand the current employment environment for deaf 
and blind communities, and as a result, develop effective strategies aimed at helping these 
citizens, like all Ohioans, reach their highest employment potential. 

The pages that follow present the results of this important and foundational work. This report 
synthesizes the findings from surveys, focus groups and an exhaustive literature review. Task 
force members analyzed the results, discussed their own life and work experiences, and 
identified multiple recommendations. 

To some extent, the task forceís findings confirmed what many of us knew from our own 
experiences. Not only do employers have much to learn about workers with disabilities and 
how to effectively integrate them into Ohioís workforce, but Ohioís deaf and blind communities 
need greater access to career training and development. Perhaps the most encouraging finding, 
however, was that although barriers to employment exist, many of them can be reduced 
through increased awareness and engagement on the part of employers. This means we are in 
a position to make a significant difference in the lives of Ohioans who are blind, deaf, or 
deafblind. 

Of course, this report represents just the first step. The next phase will require action on the 
part of employers and the disability community. We are grateful to the task force members for 
volunteering their time and energy to this important work, and look forward to seeing the 
results in the lives of the people we serve and the positive impact on Ohioís economy. 

Cynthia C. Dungey, Director Kevin L. Miller, Director 
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities 


Executive Summary 

Background 

House Bill 483 of the 130th Ohio General Assembly established the Workforce Integration Task 
Force (WIT) to be co-chaired by the executive director of the Opportunities for Ohioans with 
Disabilities Agency (OOD) and the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services 
(ODJFS). The co-chairs were given authority to appoint the remaining task force members. 

The task force was charged with making recommendations regarding how deaf and blind 
Ohioans ìmay be more fully integrated into the workforce to increase employability and 
income parityî and issuing a report to the Governor no later than January 1, 2015. Upon the 
issuance of its report, the task force ceases to exist. 

Through a process of data and information gathering, a series of in person meetings, 
conference calls, and regular interaction and dialogue, the WIT worked together to produce this 
report. A fundamental theme emerged: the need for significantly greater and broader 
awareness and understanding of the issues facing Ohioans with disabilities; specifically those 
who are blind, deaf, and deafblind. Individuals who recruit, hire, train and retain employees 
too often lack an appropriate level of awareness and knowledge regarding the disability 
community. As a result, they may not provide the necessary services and communication, and 
instead inadvertently create barriers to employment and full community integration. 

This work led the task force to identify the following barriers: 
. 
A disconnect between Ohio employersí need for qualified and dedicated workers and 
the available talents, skills and abilities of blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans; 
. 
The specific, tangible benefits of integrating individuals with disabilities into the 
workforce are not widely known or effectively and consistently communicated to 
employers; 
. 
Employers often fail to understand, or appropriately plan for, the reasonable 
accommodations Ohioans with disabilities need upon entering the workforce; 
. 
Employers act, or fail to act, based on misunderstandings and/or fears about 
performance, safety and liability issues related to hiring individuals with disabilities; 
. 
Workforce integration services and programs available for Ohio employees and 
employers are not widely known or effectively and consistently communicated; 
. 
State and federal programs inadvertently create disincentives to work through asset and 
income limits; 
. 
Employers fail to adopt and implement uniform and quality standards for services 
offered to blind, deaf, and deafblind individuals; 
. 
Ohioans with disabilities often lack critical vocational and career planning skills and the 
appropriate training opportunities to acquire them are not always widely available; 
. 
Ohioís transportation system often lacks effective options and services for Ohioans with 
disabilities. 

Ohio is well positioned to lead efforts to tackle these broad and often daunting barriers and 
challenges. Ohio can be a national leader in the education and training of employers and 
employees in the benefits of integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce; 
ensuring that all employees and employers are aware of and sensitive to the challenges facing 
Ohioans with disabilities. We can also work to ensure that all services and programs provide 
truly equal access and necessary accommodations that enable a path toward employment and 
independence for all. 

A focused campaign to position Ohio as a leader in this area would not only result in a 
significant increase in the number of blind, deaf and deafblind individuals employed, but it 
would boost morale, productivity and economic growth across the stateís economy. 

To start on a path towards achieving these goals, the task force makes the following 
recommendations: 

1. 
OOD and ODJFS should work collaboratively to create, collect and communicate clear, 
uniform and comprehensive information to employers about integrating blind, deaf, 
and deafblind Ohioans into the workforce. 
2. 
OOD and ODJFS should develop strategies to more effectively engage business 
leadership organizations and networks to facilitate business to business and peer to 
peer conversations on how best to address and reduce barriers to employment and 
income parity for blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans. 
3. 
The state of Ohio should seek out ways to more effectively build a culture of inclusion 
and accessibility by including disability awareness in any required diversity and 
inclusion training programs; and through the development of mentoring and 
relationship-building opportunities. 
4. 
Ohio should encourage and facilitate opportunities to connect blind, deaf, and 
deafblind Ohioans with employers and to connect employers interested in integrating 
individuals with disabilities into their workforce with those who have successfully 
implemented such integration. 
5. 
All Ohio employers should commit themselves to developing standards and 
benchmarks for effectively serving individuals with disabilities in key areas including: 
communications and education; access and accommodation; and hiring and 
employment. 
6. 
OOD should work with the Governorís Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) to 
coordinate a working group of related agencies and programs to develop a unified 
plan to more effectively align state of Ohio employment and workforce programs and 
services for Ohioans with disabilities. 

7. 
State and federal governments should explore ways to remove disincentives to work 
that result from income and asset limits for blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans. 
8. 
The state of Ohio should ensure that pre-vocational and vocational training is available 
and accessible for blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans throughout the state. 
9. 
Ohio should explore ways to better leverage the facilities, programs, and services 
available in order to create immersive and hands on training opportunities for blind, 
deaf and deafblind communities across the state. 
10. Ohio should continue to pursue a more integrated and wider-ranging system of 
transportation for individuals with disabilities in both urban and rural areas and to 
explore options to reduce transportation as a barrier to employment for blind, deaf, 
and deafblind Ohioans. 
Introduction 

As noted above, House Bill 483 established the Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT) to be 
co-chaired by the executive director of the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency 
(OOD) and the director of the Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), who were given 
authority to appoint the remaining task force members. 

The agency directors finalized the composition of the task force by adding seven members with 
diverse backgrounds and experience. The membership includes Ohioans from the deaf and 
blind communities; representatives from the business community, nonprofit organizations, and 
community leaders; and those with an academic background in disability issues. (See Appendix 
A for biographies of task force members). 

Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT) Members 

Kevin L. Miller, Co-Chair, Executive Director, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities 

Cynthia C. Dungey, Co-Chair, Director, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services 

Deborah Kendrick, Independent Journalist 

John Moore, CEO/Executive Director, Deaf Services Center 

Dr. J.W. Smith, Professor of Speech Communication, Ohio University 

Steve Brubaker, Chief of Staff, InfoCision 

Sherry Williams, President and CEO, Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate 

Dr. Jamie McCartney, Coordinator, ASL/English Interpreting Program, Kent State 

University 

Arlon Nash, Teacher, Springfield High School 

Data and Information Collection 

In preparation for the work of the task force, staff at OOD and ODJFS collected relevant data 
and information, as outlined in the enabling legislation, through a review of available literature, 
the development and deployment of a set of questionnaires/surveys, and by conducting focus 
groups throughout the state. 

Given the timeframe and costs involved, it was not possible for WIT to conduct a large-scale 
professional survey focused on the data elements included in the enabling legislation. There 
are, however, surveys such as the Current Population Survey and the American Community 
Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, which provide high-quality relevant data. 

Agency staff also developed informal surveys targeted for three groups: members of the 
blindness and deafness communities; employers; and service providers, advocates and parents. 
Staff conducted 17 focus groups, in six different regions of the state, with Ohioans who are 

blind or deaf and working (or seeking work) to talk about barriers to employment and 
recommendations. (Further details available in Appendix B) 


Task force members used this data, along with their own knowledge and experience, to identify 
the major barriers to employment and income parity for people who are deaf, blind, or deaf-
blind. 

Note on Terminology Used in this Report 

In most surveys, people self-identify as deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deafblind. 
These terms embrace any degree of vision or hearing loss that seriously affects an individualís ability to 
perceive information readily evident to someone who has usual degrees of vision and hearing. Our 
research ranged from those with mild impairments to those who have become blind or deaf due to 
illness or injury and, finally, to those born totally blind or deaf. For the purposes of this report, the 

terms ìblindî and ìdeafî include the entire range of vision and hearing loss. 

It is also worth noting that the deaf community prefers to capitalize the term (i.e. Deaf). For 
consistency and uniformity, however, the phrase ìblind, deaf, and deafblindî is used throughout this 
report to describe these individuals and communities. 

Background 

In order to place the WIT findings and recommendations into the appropriate context, it is helpful to 
review some of the underlying data: 

. 
More than 250,000 Ohioans are blind or have a vision disability and more than 416,000 are deaf 
or have a hearing disability.1 
. 
Disabilities are more common with age, but among Ohioans age 18-64, about 132,000 are blind 
or have a vision disability and about 159,000 are deaf or have a hearing disability. This is about 

1.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, of Ohioís 18-to-64 age population. 
. 
Ohioans with disabilities are less likely to be in the labor force than those without disabilities. 
o 
Among Ohioans in the labor force, the unemployment rate for those who are deaf or 
have a hearing disability was about 13.3 percent and for those who are blind or have a 
vision disability, 18.9 percent.2 The unemployment rate for all Ohioans in the labor force 
was 8.3 percent. [It is important to note that these figures do not include a large 
portion of Ohioans who are blind, deaf or deafblind who are underemployed or have 
abandoned the job search.] 
. 
Earnings among individuals with disabilities tend to be lower. Median earnings for those with a 
disability were $18,341 compared to $30,074 for those without a disability.3 

1 American Community Survey 2011-2013 data. 
2 American Community Survey 2011-2013 data. These data are different from the unemployment statistics reported by the 


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are, however, useful in showing differences between groups. 
3 American Community Survey 2011-2013 data. 
. 
Data from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities shows that among those using OODís 
services, average hourly wages upon employment averaged $13.62 for those with a vision 
impairment and $13.57 for those with a hearing impairment, significantly below the average 
hourly wage of $20.76 for all occupations in Ohio.4 

. 
According to the 2012 Cornell Report, income disparity for Ohioís full-time workers with a visual 
disability is more significant than for Ohioans with a hearing disability. 

o 
Median earnings for Ohioans with visual impairments are almost 25 percent lower than 
for individuals without a disability. 
o 
Median earnings for individuals with a hearing disability are almost equivalent to those 
without a disability. [Note: most people categorized as having a hearing disability 
developed hearing loss later in life, after already establishing careers prior to the onset 
of their disability.] 
Key Task Force Findings on Barriers to Employment 

WIT determined that the barriers to employment and income parity among blind, deaf, and deafblind 
Ohioans are symptoms of a larger issue: a fundamental lack of awareness and knowledge about 
individuals with disabilities, their culture, their strengths and weaknesses, the challenges they face, and 
the opportunities they can provide. This in turn fuels a lack of knowledge about the benefits of 
integrating these individuals into the workforce. Additionally, many blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans 

lack the necessary skills for developing a successful career path in todayís economy and access to the 

training opportunities needed to acquire them. 

Specific Barriers 

The task force specifically identified the following important barriers: 

. 
A disconnect between Ohio employersí need for qualified and dedicated workers and the 
available talents, skills and abilities of blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans; 
. 
The specific, tangible benefits of integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce are 
not widely known or effectively and consistently communicated to employers; 
. 
Employers often fail to understand, or appropriately plan for, the reasonable accommodations 
Ohioans with disabilities need upon entering the workforce; 
. 
Employers act, or fail to act, based on misunderstandings and/or fears about performance, 
safety and liability issues related to hiring individuals with disabilities; 
. 
Workforce integration services and programs available for Ohio employees and employers are 
not widely known or effectively and consistently communicated; 
. 
State and federal programs inadvertently create disincentives to work through asset and 
income limits; 
. 
Employers fail to adopt and implement uniform and quality standards for services offered to 
blind, deaf, and deafblind individuals; 
. 
Ohioans with disabilities often lack critical vocational and career planning skills and the 
appropriate training opportunities to acquire them are not always widely available; 

4 OOD wage data on successful job outcomes from October 2010 to May 2014. Ohio 2013 average hourly wage from the 
Occupation Employment Statistics program of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

. 
Ohioís transportation system often lacks effective options and services for Ohioans with 
disabilities. 


Benefits of Workforce Integration 

WIT identified a clear need for increased education and training targeted towards employers on the 
benefits, available incentives and services, and successful practices involved in recruiting, hiring and 
retaining Ohioans who are blind, deaf, or deafblind. Currently, too many employers lack even basic 
knowledge about how to recruit, hire and promote people with disabilities. 

Many employers lack an understanding and awareness of the talents, skills and abilities of blind, deaf, 
and deafblind Ohioans and the disability community more broadly. As a result employers do not view 
this group of Ohioans as a resource and talent pool and so do not explore integrating these individuals 
into their workforce, despite an often-stated need for greater access to qualified and dedicated 
workers. Clearly, a disconnect exists between what employers need and want and what Ohioans with 
disabilities have to offer. 

Similarly, employers do not have a clear understanding of the benefits of integrating blind, deaf, and 
deafblind individuals into their workforce. Experience shows that integrating individuals with 
disabilities into the workforce has a positive impact on business morale, productivity and profitability. 
Integration can bring higher retention rates, lower absenteeism and higher productivity. Individuals 
with disabilities have proven to be dedicated, conscientious, and highly productive workers when given 
the opportunity. Meanwhile, businesses frequently note the cost of high turnover and absenteeism 
and the need for qualified workers. 

Educating employers on the benefits of workforce integration is critical to overcoming these 
knowledge gaps and barriers but too often information is fragmented across agencies and 
organizations; and across programs, services, and access points. 

Reasonable Accommodations ñ 
Attitudes and Available Services 

In 2011, researchers H. Stephen Kaye, Lita H. Jans, and Erica C. Jones examined attitudes among HR 
professionals and supervisors at companies that had been identified as resistant to hiring persons with 
disabilities 5. Common reasons companies might not hire persons with disabilities included: the cost of 
accommodations, lack of awareness in how to deal with workers with disabilities and their 
accommodation needs, fear of being stuck with a worker who cannot be disciplined or fired because of 
a possible lawsuit, difficulty in assessing an applicantís ability to perform job tasks, concerns over 
supervisory time, concerns over work quality, lack of job candidates with disabilities, and a perception 
that workers with disabilities cannot perform essential job duties. 

The surveys conducted for this task force validate these findings and indicate that the attitudes of 
those in hiring and management roles greatly impact the career opportunities for blind, deaf, and 
deafblind Ohioans. Employers who responded to the task force survey identify concerns about 
accommodations and safety as the number one reason they do not target deaf and blind applicants for 

5 Why Donít Employers Hire and Retain Workers with Disabilities? H. Stephen Kaye, Lita H. Jans, and Erica C. Jones 

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10926-011-9302-8 

employment. Employer concerns about medical, legal and safety issues also create reluctance or fear 
to address these topics. 

In the survey of the deaf and blindness communities, employer attitude toward disability was 
overwhelmingly identified by job seekers as the number one barrier to employment (65%). In the 
survey of deaf and vision service providers, employer concerns for liability and safety ranked as the 
number one barrier (73.4%). In the employer survey, employers themselves highlighted concerns 
about liability and safety as a top concern (61.1%). 

Employers also often fail to anticipate and plan for the necessary accommodations and services 
needed to effectively integrate their workforce. According to the Job Accommodation Network, many 
employers do not think about how they will support a person with disabilities until they encounter 
someone during the hiring process. As a consequence, these employers have little understanding of 
how to provide reasonable accommodations. This ad hoc rather than strategic planning is a barrier to 
employment and effective integration. 

WIT focus group responses also indicated that employers are not sure how to best onboard people 
with disabilities and help them integrate into their company culture. For example, one focus group 
participant said, ìYou are in a position of continually having to teach other people about your 
disability.î 

The impact of these myths, fears, and misunderstandings can be significantly reduced as barriers to 
employment and successful workforce inclusion through focused education, awareness and training. 
There are many services currently available to help employers in this area. However, this requires a 
much wider distribution of information on available services and programs designed to help employers 
both understand the issue of accommodations and the resources available. 

Disincentives to Work 

The receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may 
also influence whether people pursue part-time or full-time employment. OOD consumers who 
attained employment but are still receiving SSI/SSDI benefits tend to work fewer hours and therefore 
earn less income from employment than people who are not receiving SSI/SSDI benefits. In addition, 
the average hourly wage of individuals that work more hours is higher than those who work fewer 
hours or part-time. Concerns about loss of benefits can be a barrier to employment and further 
exacerbate the income gap. State income or asset limits may create similar disincentives to work or to 
working full-time. 

Inclusion and Accessibility 

The attitudes and knowledge of those making decisions about the recruitment, hiring, retention, and 
promotion of individuals with disabilities are critical, but peers and fellow employee attitudes are also 
an important element of successful workforce integration for blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans. A 
lack of awareness and sensitivity to the challenges Ohioans with disabilities face, the skills and talents 
they offer, and the accommodations they may require can create barriers and hinder effective 
workforce integration. A lack of direct relationships within and between employers when it comes to 
Ohioans with disabilities can also be a barrier. 

Diversity and inclusion programs and training sessions are a common aspect of human resources 
departments and employer engagement activity. The issues surrounding disability, however, are not 
always included so an opportunity to raise awareness and remove barriers is missed. 

Accessibility is also a significant barrier to employment. Whether it is getting to work on time, asking 
directions, filling out an application, or convincing an employer that you deserve a raise, access is an 

element that pervades all aspects of life as a member of Ohioís blindness or deafness community. 

Whereas a sighted or hearing Ohioan can be reasonably certain that spoken or written information will 
be available as a job seeker or as an employee, this is often not the case for those with vision or 
hearing loss. Even when information is ostensibly available, it is common to find low-quality products 
and services when accessing Internet content, Brailled materials or interpreters. This is why so many 
Ohioans who are blind, deaf or deafblind can become frustrated and possibly abandon a job search. 

WIT members were able to point to examples, from employment advertising to the application 
process, where significant improvements could be made at little or no cost to the entities involved and 
yet result in improved services for the blind, deaf, and deafblind job seeker. WIT surveys and focus 
groups noted that trouble with access begins at the front door, or at the first webpage, with an often 
laborious sign-in process. 

Barriers also include dauntingly bureaucratic testing language or position descriptions, minimum 
qualifications, and licensure standards that unnecessarily exclude Ohioans with disabilities. One 
example is the specific demand on many state job applications for a valid driverís license despite the 
fact that needing to drive is not an essential qualification for the position (a driverís license is likely 
being used simply as identification but no alternative is offered or listed). Another would be 
requirements for vision or hearing tests that unnecessarily exclude individuals with disabilities from 
positions where acute hearing or vision is not an essential function (e.g. requiring a hearing test for a 
Commercial Driverís License (CDL) or a vision test in order to be certified as a teacher). 

Uniform and quality standards for services offered to blind, deaf and deafblind individuals is thus 
critical to their ability to find and retain employment. If these individuals canít access important 
information and services on an equally effective basis, or are unnecessarily exclude from the applicant 
pool, they will be at a competitive disadvantage. 

Skills Training and Career Planning 

It was once possible to be trained in a trade or specific skill and find employment in a specific industry 
and thereby acquire a long term, stable career. Individuals with disabilities frequently benefited from 
this available path to employment. The path to employment in todayís job market, however, is often 
more complex and fluid and may require constant re-training to keep up with technology. Navigating 
the system and the frequent retraining can be a challenge for the blind, deaf, and deafblind 
communities. In order to be able to acquire in-demand skills, these individuals must have access to the 
training and career services available to the general public, in a location and format that is appropriate. 

Focus group members expressed dissatisfaction regarding accessibility to the training and career 
services offered to their non-deaf or non-blind counterparts. Deaf attendees stated that they could 
not sign up for some services because service providers would not accept relay calls. When they were 
finally able to sign up for training, the training itself was not culturally accessible to them. Finally, they 
had difficulty obtaining reliable interpreting and extra time for tests. 

Blind attendees could not access certain training programs because the written or electronic material 
was not accessible. Some attendees stated that they lack the basic computer skills to benefit from 
electronic information. Other attendees stated that electronic information may have been available, 
but the computer monitors were not large enough, or speech software was not available for their 
reading needs. All of this points to a need for both effective service standards and more widely 
accessible and available training options. 

Transportation 

In nearly every survey taken, and in every conversation about the challenges and barriers facing 
individuals with disabilities, transportation is at or near the top of the list. The lack of available and 
reliable transportation options is without a doubt a significant barrier to blind, deaf, and deafblind 
Ohioans finding and retaining employment. 

Recommendations 

Once the task force identified and outlined the above barriers to employment and income parity, the 
following recommendations were developed on how best to begin reducing and removing these 
barriers. 

We are confident that implementing the recommendations that follow will spur job and income 
growth and community integration for individuals with disabilities across Ohio. By focusing on both the 
outstanding barriers to employment, and enabling long term career success, the recommendations will 
position Ohio employers to fill critical workforce needs and develop a more stable and productive 
workforce. Additionally, more people with disabilities will be able to achieve and retain employment, 
therefore not only reducing the draw on government services, but also allowing them to contribute to 
the economy and become more independent. 

Recommendation #1: OOD and ODJFS Collaboration on Uniform and 
Effective Communication 

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services 
(ODJFS) should work collaboratively to create, collect and communicate clear, uniform and 
comprehensive information to employers about integrating blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans into 
the workforce. 

Employers in Ohio need targeted outreach and educational material on how to recruit, interview, hire, 
retain, and promote individuals with disabilities. The information must also be made available to all 
workforce development programs in the State of Ohio so that employers receive accurate and uniform 
information. Workforce development staff should have training on the information so that Ohio 

employers have the support they need regardless of the agency or program serving as the contact or 
entry point. 

Topics that should be included: 

. 
Information on Ohioís vocational rehabilitation program as well as the services offered to 

employers across all education, training and workforce programs. 

. 
Availability of sensitivity and awareness training, mentorship programs, and on-the-job training 

opportunities. 

. 
Economic incentives available to businesses that hire employees with disabilities. 

. 
Technical assistance and continuing education to employers on reasonable accommodations. 

The task force strongly believes that clearly articulating, and more effectively and uniformly promoting, 
the business case for hiring blind, deaf, and deafblind applicants, along with providing training on 
accommodations and liability concerns, is a critical step in removing barriers to employment and 
career success. 

Recommendation #2: Business to Business Engagement 

OOD and ODJFS should jointly develop strategies to more effectively engage business leadership 
organizations and networks to facilitate business to business, and peer to peer, conversations about 
reducing barriers to employment and income parity for blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans. 

The Business Leadership Network (OHBLN)6 is well positioned to play a role in engaging the business 
community on addressing barriers to employment for Ohioans who are blind, deaf and deafblind (and 
Ohioans with disabilities more broadly). The agencies should work with the membership of OHBLN on 
how best to strengthen and grow the reach and impact of business to business communications and 
programs. 

OOD and ODJFS should also seek input and collaboration from organizations like the Ohio Chamber of 
Commerce (and local chambers of commerce), the National Federation of Independent Businesses 
Ohio chapter, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, and the Ohio Business Roundtable. These 
organizations, and others, need to be integrated into a statewide network that can discuss barriers to 
employment for Ohioans with disabilities, explore strategies and approaches to removing or reducing 
those barriers, and share the benefits of workforce integration for employers. In order to learn from 
and be mentored by those representing the cultures of blindness and deafness themselves, such a 
network should also invite participation by representatives from consumer organizations such as the 
National Federation of the Blind, Ohio Association of Deafblind, etc. 

6 The Ohio Business Leadership Network (OHBLN) is an affiliate of the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN), 
a national organization that promotes the business imperative to include people with disabilities in the workforce using a 
business-to-business model. http://ohiobln.org/ 

Recommendation #3: Building a Culture of Diversity & Inclusion 

The state of Ohio should seek out ways to more effectively build a culture of inclusion and 
accessibility by ensuring that disability awareness is included in any required diversity and inclusion 
training programs; and through the development of mentoring and relationship-building 
opportunities. 

Some areas to explore would include: 

Disability is Diversity 

The state of Ohio is a significant employer and has the opportunity to be a role model on issues 
pertaining to integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce. The state should therefor 
explore opportunities to more effectively build equality and accessibility into its workforce and culture. 

As noted above, awareness and sensitivity to the challenges and opportunities faced by blind, deaf, 
and deafblind individuals by both employers and employees is an important element of identifying and 
breaking down barriers. Disability, however, is not always included in traditional diversity and 
inclusion training opportunities and programs which mean this awareness, knowledge and sensitivity 
may not develop or do so in a uniform and effective fashion. Ohio should look for ways to incorporate 
disability awareness and training into its larger diversity and inclusion policies, procedures, and training 
programs to ensure a basic and uniform level of knowledge for employees. 

It is also worth exploring whether employees who are involved in workforce development, human 
resources, and policy development on issues surrounding these topics should complete more in-depth 
training in order to better understand the larger issues surrounding the recruiting, hiring and retaining 
of people with disabilities. 

Mentoring 

Mentoring is a potentially powerful tool in breaking down barriers and building relationships. 
Mentoring fosters increased awareness and knowledge about the disability community, the challenges 
people with disabilities face, and the skills and resources they offer while at the same time giving 
individuals with disabilities the opportunity to learn more about employers, and potential employers, 
and their job seeking peers and colleagues. 

Both sides benefit through these relationships. Blind, deaf, and deafblind individuals would benefit 
from being mentored by both employer leaders and by peers in order to better understand what it 
takes to succeed in a given industry or career and what options are available, etc. Employers would 
benefit from being mentored in order to better understand the perspective of people with disabilities, 
their challenges, as well as their skills and talents. Direct connections between people make 
knowledge and awareness concrete and real in a way that basic training does not. 

The focus groups confirmed the importance of Ohioans with disabilities themselves interacting with 
Ohio employers and sharing their experiences and expertise in workforce integration. ìItís a good idea 

for groups to go to employers and show, not tell, what they can do even with a disability,î noted a 

participant. 

And according to the National Council on Disability, a survey of employers found that 59 percent rated 
mentoring as "effective" or "very effective" for reducing barriers to employment, or for advancement 
for people with disabilities in their organizations. 

Affinity Groups 

Affinity Groups, employer-sponsored entities comprised of employees who have shared interests and 
experiences and have at one time felt underrepresented in the workplace, are also worth exploring. 
Focus groups often indicated that the information and experience sharing that peers with similar 
disabilities provide are powerful tools in promoting independence and generating job satisfaction. 

Ohio should develop mentoring and relationship-building opportunities within its workforce to further 
build a culture of diversity and inclusion and to foster effective integration of blind, deaf, and deafblind 
individuals. 

Recommendation #4: Explore Ways to Connect Employers with 
Individuals with Disabilities 


Ohio should encourage and facilitate opportunities to connect blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans 
with employers and to connect employers interested in integrating individuals with disabilities into 
their workforce with those who have successfully implemented such integration. 

As noted above, mentoring is a potentially powerful tool to identify and remove barriers to 
employment and to create a culture of diversity and inclusion that fosters successful workforce 
integration. The State of Ohio can be a role model in this effort, but it should also encourage 
connections between blind, deaf and deafblind Ohioans with businesses seeking to more effectively 
integrate their workforce and help facilitate employer to employer mentoring and relationship building 
opportunities. 

Employer to Employer Connections 

Employers that hire people with disabilities are in the unique position to assist other businesses with 
the most effective approaches to the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding of employees with disabilities 
and are in a position to mentor one another to dispel myths, share trade strategies, and provide 
mutual support. 

Some Ohio businesses such as Procter and Gamble already have disability mentoring projects 
underway and are enjoying success. Such companies should be encouraged to reach out to the wider 
business community to share their success and offer advice on effective implementation of similar 
programs and strategies. The OHBLN can also play a lead role in facilitating these connections. 

Connecting with Businesses 

As discussed above, Ohioís disability community would benefit from stronger connections and 

relationships with employers. If there are ways the State of Ohio can help connect blind, deaf, and 

deafblind individuals with the business community it should take advantage of those opportunities. 
These direct relationships would strengthen the business community and foster greater employment 
and independence for Ohioans with a disability. 

Task force conducted focus groups and the Employer survey also highlighted the fact that once one 
member of the blindness or deafness community is on-boarded with a given employer, that individual 
often paves the way by example, or by networking, for others to apply successfully. Like-disability and 
like-occupation networking is an effective support tool for this process, providing ongoing advice, 
creative ideas on accommodations and peer support. 

Recommendation #5: Developing Standards for Services 

All Ohio employers should commit themselves to developing standards and benchmarks for 
effectively serving individuals with disabilities in key areas including communications and education, 
access and accommodation, and hiring and employment. 

A lack of clear and uniform service and accessibility standards is clearly a barrier to employment. Truly 
equal access to services, training, and information is critical to successful employment. Unfortunately, 
unequal access and low quality service is something frequently encountered by blind, deaf, and 
deafblind Ohioans seeking employment, retention and promotion. 

Ohio employers should be encouraged to develop standards for serving Ohioans with disabilities and 
regularly reviewing their policies, procedures, and services to measure their success. 

Areas for employers to consider when developing these standards and benchmarks include: 
. 
Communications: All print, web based, and audio/visual information should be accessible to 
deaf and blind Ohioans (including quality captioning and interpreting). 

o 
Online job postings, applications, company information, and all state agency online 
presences should be in compliance with guidelines provided by the Web Accessibility 
Initiative to ensure accessibility to Ohioans who are blind or do not read conventional 
print. 
. 
Access and Accommodations: Ohioans who are deaf and blind should be able to receive the 
same level of service as those who do not have disabilities: 

o 
Facility accessibility 
o 
Equal access and effectiveness for in person training and meetings 
o 
Available and knowledgeable staff 
o 
Clear policies/procedures for reasonable accommodations 
. 
Hiring and Employment 
o 
Appropriate levels of awareness and sensitivity training for HR staff 
o 
Access and ease of use for applications, testing, interviews, etc. 
o 
Reviewing and removing unintended barriers created through unnecessary or overly 
specific qualifications, descriptions, or testing (i.e. State ID not driverís license, hearing 
and vision tests, etc.) 
A commitment to developing standards and setting benchmarks will help identify barriers to 
employment and ineffective recruitment, hiring and onboarding processes and procedures. 

In addition to ensuring that quality services are being provided and building a stronger and more 
effective workforce, this commitment will also generate significant goodwill among Ohioís disability 
community; a potentially impactful market segment for businesses. 

Recommendation # 6: Working Group on Program Alignment 

OOD should work with the Governorís Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) to coordinate a 
working group of related agencies and programs to develop a unified plan to more effectively align 
State of Ohio employment and workforce programs and services for Ohioans with disabilities. 

The recently passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), is moving federal law toward 
unified state workforce development plans using specific standards and metrics to measure progress 
toward shared goals. The state of Ohio has already worked with stakeholders and local providers to 
develop a unified plan, which includes the Workforce Investment Act, Adult and Basic Literacy 
Education, and Carl Perkins funding. This recommendation will build upon that unified plan and will 
now include OODís resources as required under WIOA. This addition will allow for better program 
alignment among agencies and ensure that programs are effectively working together to serve Ohioans 
with disabilities and that available resources are being leveraged and spent under the guidance of a 
statewide strategic plan. This alignment would also mean serving more people and doing so more 
effectively. 

WIT saw a strong consensus when it comes to better cross-agency program and services alignment. 
Case after case was described in focus groups of those with visual impairments reliant on alternate 
transportation being shuttled from one office to another, and from groups of Ohioans who are deaf, 
arriving only to find a less-than-competent interpreter, and more often, no interpreter at all. 

Particular collaboration suggestions focused on not only OOD and ODJFS collaboration and 
streamlining, but also efforts to include other agencies that commonly provide an array of services to 
people who are blind, deaf, and deafblind. These include, but are not limited to, the Ohio Bureau of 
Motor Vehicles, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio 
Department of Medicaid; and many law enforcement and criminal justice entities. 

Better program alignment also gives an opportunity for the State of Ohio and other government 
entities to investigate cost-sharing and information-sharing options in the provision of 
accommodations to Ohio constituents. This also builds a natural support system for ensuring that 
agencies explore and consider the service standards suggested earlier in this report. 

Building off the success of the stateís current unified plan, this working group would be in a position to 
jump start Ohioís program alignment in anticipation of WIOA requirements. This will help ensure that 
all of Ohioís workforce and employment related programs and services are effectively serving blind, 
deaf and deafblind job seekers and the disability community more broadly. 

Recommendation #7: Disincentives to Work 

State and federal governments should explore ways to remove disincentives to work that result from 
income and asset limits for Ohioans who are blind, deaf and deafblind. 

As discussed above, the receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability 
Insurance (SSDI) can influence whether people pursue part-time or full-time employment. 

OOD consumers who attained employment but are still receiving SSI/SSDI benefits tend to work fewer 
hours and therefore earn less income from employment than people who are not receiving SSI/SSDI 
benefits. In addition, the average hourly wage of individuals that work more hours is higher than those 
who work fewer hours or part-time. 

Ohio policies, rules and regulations may have the same effect, since Ohioans who are blind, deaf, and 
deafblind are naturally worried about losing access to important benefits. Even if the employment 
opportunity affords a great income, some are reluctant to lose current income benefits for the 
possibility of greater future income. 

These rules and regulations in effect create a barrier to effective employment and reduce income 
parity. Government at the state and federal level should explore ways to remove these disincentives 
and encourage employment without threatening benefits. In the long run, the benefits of successful 
employment will outweigh the cost of a transition period for benefits. 

Recommendation #8: Access to Pre-vocational and Vocational Training 

Pre-vocational and vocational training for Ohioans who are blind, deaf and deafblind should be 
available and accessible throughout Ohio. 

Ensuring that job seekers of all ages not only acquire the skills and qualifications required for available 
and in-demand jobs, but also have the skills necessary to successfully navigate todayís job market is a 
fundamental element of workforce development in Ohio. Like many without disabilities, however, 
individuals who are blind, deaf and deafblind often lack the soft skills and competencies needed to 
conduct a job search, network with potential employers, effectively interview, negotiate employment, 
and build a career. 

In order to encourage and facilitate the acquisition of these skills, equal access and availability is 
critical. Ohioans who are blind, deaf, and deafblind should have access to the same vocational training, 
programs and services as Ohioans who are non-disabled. 

OhioMeansJobs Centers 

Survey data from Ohioans who are blind, deaf, and deafblind indicates that the second largest barrier 
to employment is a lack of available jobs. At the same time, employers indicate that their largest 
barrier to hiring people with disabilities is a lack of applicants. OhioMeansJobs centers stand in a 
unique position to bridge this gap between qualified workers and available jobs. Given this reality, a 
review of all OhioMeansJobs centers should be conducted to ensure that Ohioans who are blind, deaf, 
and deafblind have equal access to employment training and job seeking services. 

Specific Training for Deaf and/or Blind Ohioans 

Accessibility for deaf people goes beyond ensuring that sign language interpreting or captioning is 
available. Studies indicate that instruction from a person who can communicate directly with the deaf 
person is far more effective than instruction via a sign language interpreter. While interpreters are 
very valued in the deaf community, introducing a third person into a scenario will almost always dilute 
the timing, meaning, and effectiveness of communication. With this in mind, increased vocational 
services specifically designed for and targeting deaf and/or blind Ohioans should also be explored and 
encouraged. 

Recommendation #9: Immersive and Hands on Training 

Ohio should explore ways to better leverage the facilities, programs, networks, and services 
currently available in order to create immersive and hands on training opportunities for blind, deaf 
and deafblind communities across the state. 

Some members of the task force emphasized that a residential or immersive training center is crucial 
for developing self-confidence, alternative skills and socialization needs. Specifically for those who lose 
vision as adults and therefore lack the auditory, tactile and literacy skills that blind children pick up 
naturally and through special education. 

There is a strong network of Community Centers for the Deaf, vision centers, Deaf Studies and/or 
Interpreter Training Programs at universities, and other non-profit institutions across Ohio that provide 
specific services to the deaf and blind communities. 

In the blindness community, however, a great loss was suffered in 2012 when Columbus-based Vision 
and Vocational Services (formerly Vision Center 1927-2008) closed down. Like other centers in 
Cincinnati, Toledo and Cleveland, this nonprofit served as a training, social and workshop employment 
center for low-vision needs in Central Ohio. Its closure left the Central Ohio region unserved. Given its 
central location, the population involved, and the connection to state government and other important 
resources, the need in Central Ohio is particularly acute. Short-term residential training centers for 
blind and visually impaired adults in such states as Maryland, Louisiana, Colorado, and others have 
documented the increased job acquisition and retention of adults who experience such immersion 
training in the independence and adaptive skills of blindness. 

In the deaf community, no residential or immersive programs exist for adults in Ohio. The 
Comprehensive Program for the Deaf (housed at the Columbus Speech and Hearing Center) stopped 
providing residential services a decade or more ago and the Ohio School for the Deaf in Columbus 
serves K-12 students who live outside Franklin and contiguous counties. Deaf individuals often spend 
their entire lives within the hearing world. Ninety percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, 
the majority of whom do not sign. With the mainstreaming of deaf students in schools, this results in 
deaf individuals with little to no interaction with peers, mentors and role models who are deaf. 

Given the potential benefits of immersive and hands on education and training for independence, 
employment and quality of life, Ohio should explore ways to better leverage existing resources, 
facilities, programs, and services to create a statewide network of these type of training and 
educational opportunities. 

Recommendation #10: Transportation 

Ohio should continue to pursue a more integrated and wider-ranging system of transportation for 
individuals with disabilities in both urban and rural Ohio and to explore options to reduce 
transportation as a barrier to employment for blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans. 

As mentioned in the barriers section above, in nearly every survey taken, and in every conversation, 
about the challenges and barriers facing individuals with disabilities, transportation is at or near the 
top of the list. The lack of available and reliable transportation options is without a doubt a significant 
barrier to blind, deaf, and deafblind Ohioans finding and retaining employment. It is a component of 
access just like those areas discussed above. It will have to be addressed in order to truly spur 
increased employment and income opportunities for Ohioís blind, deaf, and deafblind. 

There are a number of ongoing activities and research on this topic being conducted by agencies and 
organizations throughout Ohio. Those projects should continue and will hopefully provide concrete 
recommendations for improvement. 

A few areas for further consideration: 

. 
Para-transit and other transportation related services and programs are often administered or 
funded at the county level. This creates barriers and complications for job seekers crossing 
county borders for employment. 

o 
Focus groups in the Cleveland area praised the regionís transportation system which 
crosses county lines. 
. 
Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft may provide options that were heretofore 
unavailable at least in urban areas. 
. 
Employers seeking to expand their talent pool and integrate Ohioans with disabilities into their 
workforce should strongly consider the role of transportation in the needs of their employees. 

o 
Transportation vouchers, creative carpooling incentives, company-provided drivers or 
other accommodations may provide effective solutions to individual needs without 
having to undertake system wide changes. 
. 
The states of Minnesota and Washington have the reputation as having the best transportation 
systems for the blind, deaf, and deafblind. They may provide models and examples for policy 

makers seeking to improve Ohioís system of transportation. 

o 
Members of the ODOT Transit Needs Study team also found that these two states 
(specifically Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul)) are models for effective transit services 
for all ridership. This demonstrates the finding that, when public transportation systems 
innovate for the general community, they are likely to positively impact riders with 
disabilities, including those who are blind, deaf, and deafblind. 
Conclusion 

In many respects, effectively integrating individuals who are blind, deaf, and deafblind into the 
workforce in order to achieve equality and opportunity is a complex and difficult task. It involves 
federal, state and local government entities and programs, businesses of varying scope, size and 
industry, and a diverse population with very different needs, cultures, and circumstances. In many 
cases, true integration will require upending longstanding ways of doing business, overcoming the 
communication challenges of reaching employers of every size and industry, and changing the way 
people see the world. 

At the same time, the task is also a simple one. It involves raising awareness about the challenges and 
benefits of recruiting, hiring and promoting individuals who are blind, deaf, and deafblind, setting high 
standards for services, and creating a culture of diversity and inclusion within Ohioís workforce where 
everyone is welcomed and valued for their contributions to our communities and the economy. 

If implemented, the above recommendations would position Ohio as a national leader in this effort. 
More importantly, taking concrete action on these recommendations would serve citizens better. It 
would create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and spur employment, economic growth and a 
better quality of life for many Ohioans. 

The impact on individuals who are blind, deaf, and deafblind would be significant: 

. 
Increased independence, quality of life and career opportunities 

. 
A welcoming and more inclusive work environment 

. 
Greater accessibility to services and programs 

. 
Opportunities for mentoring and leadership roles 

Many of the recommendations will require determination and significant effort to enact. They will 
require a significant investment of time and resources. Some will involve a change in perspective and a 
willingness to be uncomfortable in order to learn and change. 

In every case, however, the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce far outweigh the costs. 

Now is the time to act, to build a better state not only for individuals who are blind, deaf, and 
deafblind, and their families and communities, but for all Ohioans. 

Appendix A: Workforce Integration Task Force Members 

Steve Brubaker 

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as chief of staff, he is a member of the 
executive team and is responsible for HR, internal/external communications and manages InfoCisionís legal and 
compliance departments. Brubaker is active in a number of professional organizations, including the Direct 
Marketing Association, Society for Consumer Affairs Professionals and Professional Association for Customer 
Engagement, formerly known as American Teleservices Association (ATA). He served on ATAís national board of 
directors over a period of two decades. In 2007 he was awarded the ATAís highest honor, the prestigious 
Fulcrum Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the call center industry. Mr. Brubaker also 
received the Simonetti Distinguished Business Alumni Award from The University of Akron in 2012 and The 
University of Akron Honors College Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. Brubakerís blog at InfoCision.com 
provides timely and insightful recommendations for companies wishing to delight consumers with extraordinary 
customer service experiences. 

Deborah Kendrick 

Deborah Keefer Kendrick is an award-winning journalist, poet and technologist. Her newspaper column on 
disability rights has appeared in numerous newspapers since 1986, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus 
Dispatch and San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Kendrick also serves as senior features editor for 
AccessWorld, a technology news magazine for individuals who are blind or visually impaired published by the 
American Foundation for the Blind. Deborah has written the Jobs That Matter series of books for AFB Press, a 
series profiling a wide variety of blind and visually impaired individuals and the jobs they do. Her features, 
editorials and reviews have also appeared in numerous regional and national publications, including Womanís 
Day, Parenting, Marriage and Family, St. Anthony Messenger, and many others. She serves on a number of 
boards and councils, has three grown children, and lives in Cincinnati. 

Jamie McCartney 

Jamie McCartney has been a professional interpreter in Ohio for 21 years and an interpreter educator for 18 
years. She is currently the coordinator for the American Sign Language/ English Interpreting Program at Kent 
State University. McCartney holds a doctorate in secondary education curriculum and instruction and a masterís 
and bachelorís degree in technical education, all from the University of Akron. She also holds an associateís 
degree in interpreting/ transliterating for the deaf from Columbus State Community College. She has interpreted 
in a variety of venues, such as postsecondary, employment, medical, social services, deaf-blind and platform 
interpreting. She has also interpreted for Sorenson Video Relay Service, where she worked in the capacities of 
manager, director and video interpreter. McCartney is a member of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. 
(RID), and the Ohio Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. She holds the following national 
certifications from RID: a certificate of transliteration, a certification of interpretation and a master-level 
national interpreter Certification. 

John L. Moore 

John L. Moore is the CEO/executive director of Deaf Services Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to 
the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and their families throughout a 37-county service area. Moore 
earned a bachelor of science degree in government and history from Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. 
and a masterís in public administration from Northeastern University in Boston. He has worked with local grassroots 
organizations, as well as the public and private sector, and is currently the president of Community Shares 
of Mid-Ohio, where he works with 60 area nonprofits and is the first individual with a disability in this role. He 

has been involved in various deafness and disability organizations and has an extensive range of experience in 
dealing with organizations, agencies and interest groups on the state and local levels. 

Arlon Nash 

Arlon Nash teaches at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio. Nash graduated from Bowling Green State 
University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. He also holds a masterís degree in deaf 
education from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He is a member of the American Sign Language 
Teachers Association and holds a qualified certification. He is currently co-leader for the Clark County Deaf 
Community Organization. He also is involved as a leader in several organizations that promote leadership for the 
deaf and that support and cherish American Sign Language as the first and native language for individuals who 
are deaf. 

J. Webster Smith 
J. Webster Smith (J.W.) was born blind on March 9, 1959, in Chicago. Dr. Smith is a professor of speech 
communication in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He received his 
Bachelor of Arts degree in history and speech communication from Indiana University, his Master of Arts degree 
in speech communication from Purdue University, and his PhD from Wayne State University. He is a member of 
the National Communication Association, Central States Communication Association, National Federation of the 
Blind, National Federation of the Blind of Ohio (where he served as president from 2008 to 2012), and the 
National Association of Blind Educators. In addition, Dr. Smith has served as a member of the Ohio State Library 
Consumer Advisory Committee, the State Consumer Advisory Committee of Opportunities for Ohioans with 
Disabilities (formerly known as the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission), and the Ohio Governorís Council 

on People with Disabilities. 

Sherill K. Williams 

Sherill K. Williams has served as president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate (PBO) since 1986. Prior to 
joining the PBO staff, Williams served as national director of youth volunteers for the March of Dimes Birth 
Defects Foundation and as executive director of the Fairfield County, Connecticut chapter of the March of 
Dimes. She received her bachelor of arts in speech/communication from the University of Minnesota and a 
masterís in public administration/health care administration from Pace University of New York. Williams is on 
the advisory board of GroundWorkGroup and is a member of the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizationís 
Standards of Excellence Advisory Committee. Additionally, she serves as an advisor for the Ann Ellis Fund of The 
Columbus Foundation and is a founding member of the SOS (Save Our Sight) Coalition, Ohio Eye Care Coalition, 
Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition and Ohio Aging Eye Public Private Partnership. She is a graduate of Leadership 
Columbus and served as a commissioner for the International Year of the Child Presidential National Commission 
in Washington, D.C. 

Appendix B: Survey Data Focus Group Summary 

Questionnaires 

A single questionnaire was developed for both Ohioans who are blind/low-vision and deaf/hearingimpaired. 
This WIT constituent questionnaire was developed using both questions from other disability 
surveys and group input. The SurveyMonkey questionnaire was tested for screen readers (nonvisual 
audience), with each question containing an embedded video of an American Sign Language 
translation of the question. It was not possible to distribute the questionnaire randomly to 
constituents. Instead, 43 organizations were asked to direct constituents to the questionnaire website. 

A second questionnaire was developed for Ohio employers. Since businesses can be difficult to survey, 
the questionnaires were distributed by business service representatives from the Ohio Department of 
Job and Family Services using tablets at 11 job fairs around the state. In addition, a link to the 
questionnaire was on the employer portion of OhioMeansJobs.com. 

Due to interest generated by the constituent survey, another SurveyMonkey questionnaire was 
developed for a third group, which was made up of service providers, advocates and parents. 

Constituent Survey 

. 
The constituent survey generated 427 useable responses. Overall educational attainment of the 

respondents was above average. About 40 percent of the respondents had a bachelorís degree 

or higher, compared to 27 percent of Ohio adults 25 and older. 

. 
Just over half the respondents were working or self-employed. Their hourly wages ranged from 
$4.58 to $52.64, with a median of $12.50 per hour. Some respondents reported annual wages, 
which ranged from $1,500 to $200,000. The median annual wage was $41,000. More than a 
third of the respondents were between ages 51 and 64, with earnings often higher than the 
average. Only 11 percent of the respondents said they had never worked. 

. 
About 20 percent of respondents said they had turned down work or extra hours to keep their 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Supplemental Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 
benefits. This was more common among those not working. 

. 
About 46 percent said their disability made it very difficult or impossible to find work or be self-
employed. However, among those who had worked, only 18 percent said their disability made 
doing a job very difficult or impossible. 

. 
The most commonly mentioned barrier to work was employer attitudes toward disabilities (65 
percent). The second most commonly mentioned barrier was the availability of jobs (58 
percent). 

Employer Survey 

. 
The employer questionnaire generated 162 responses. About 66 percent of respondents said 
they had experience hiring or recruiting persons with disabilities, of which about 76 percent 
had experience hiring persons with hearing or vision impairments. 

. 
About 74 percent said the jobs for which they were currently hiring could be especially 
challenging for persons with hearing or vision impairments. 


. 
Seventy-three percent mentioned the hearing or vision requirements of jobs as a challenge for 
persons with hearing or vision impairments; 61 percent said safety and liability issues were a 
concern. 

. 
Among non-occupational challenges, lack of applicants (37 percent) followed by transportation 
(33 percent) were most commonly cited. 

Service Provider, Advocate and Family Survey 

. 
The third survey generated 84 responses. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they had 
worked with or assisted people with a vision or hearing loss for more than 10 years. 

. 
About 45 percent of respondents said that 25 to 74 percent of their clients, associates or family 
members in the vision or hearing loss communities had turned down work to maintain SSI/SSDI 
benefits, a notably higher percent than reported on the constituent survey. 

. 
The barrier to employment most commonly mentioned was employer attitudes toward 
disabilities (82 percent), followed by availability of jobs (79 percent). Service providers most 
commonly mentioned safety and liability issues (73 percent) as one of the business 
communityís perceived challenges to hiring people with disabilities. Service providers most 
commonly mentioned accommodation costs (73 percent) as one of the business communityís 
perceived non-occupational challenges. 

Focus Groups 

Staff from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities conducted 17 focus groups at six locations 
around the state. The focus groups were divided among four types of constituents: visually impaired 
and working, visually impaired and not working, hearing impaired and working, and hearing impaired 
and not working. Topics included the vocational rehabilitation system and benefits, the search for 
work, the effect of a disability on independent living, life on the job, and recommendations. 

Findings 

The following is a summary of the focus group participantsí views: 

. 
Many focus group participants felt that because of their disabilities, they had been ìput in a 
boxî with regard to their career aspirations and choices. People expressed frustration about 
not getting ìreal jobs.î 

. 
Some Ohio vocational rehabilitation consumers ìskip the borderî to get services in other states. 
Many consider Ohioís vocational rehabilitation services underfunded and behind other states. 

. 
Many participants felt that employer attitudes toward persons with disabilities prevented them 
from being considered for jobs. Many experienced the lack of reasonable accommodations, 
both on the job and during the application and interview process. Many of those in the deaf 
community said it was difficult to find good interpreters. Many of those in the reading-impaired 
community said reading/writing technology was often inadequate. 

. 
Although technology could be a job barrier, most participants saw the value in learning new 
technologies for independent living and employment. 

. 
Among those with job experience, many said they felt the need to prove themselves or explain 
their disabilities on an ongoing basis. Many said they were afraid to ask for reasonable 
accommodations or that they made their own accommodations. Social isolation was often a 
problem, especially for the deaf community. 

. 
The need for inter-and cross-agency collaboration was mentioned often. Many said services do 
not work well together or could work together better. 
. 
Many mentioned the need for a deaf commission similar to those in other states. Visually 
impaired participants mentioned the need for reliable public or private transportation. 

Appendix C: Demographics and Analysis Guide 

See separately attached Demographics and Analysis Guide. 

Workforce Integration 
Task Force 
Demographics and Analysis Guide 
2014 
Workforce Integration 
Task Force 
Demographics and Analysis Guide 
2014 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PURPOSE .......................................................................................................................................................................2 


METHODOLOGY.............................................................................................................................................................2 


Research Publications.........................................................................................................................................2 


BACKGROUND...............................................................................................................................................................3 


Ohio Labor Market Participation Trends ñ All Disabilities.............................................................................3 
Ohio Job Seeker Proportionality by Disability Type ........................................................................................4 
OhioPrevalence Rates byDisability Type........................................................................................................5 
Ohio Employment Rates by Disability Type .....................................................................................................5 
Maps ñ Ohio County Disability Type Population and Prevalence Rates......................................................6 


OHIO INCOME LEVELS AND INCOME DISPARITY FACTORS...................................................................................8 


Annual Earnings ...................................................................................................................................................8 
Full-Time versus Part-Time Employment..........................................................................................................8 
Income Disparity ñ Education and Full-Time v Part-Time Employment......................................................9 
OOD -Education, Income, and SSI/SSDI Benefits....................................................................................... 10 
SSI/SSDI Benefit Program Impact and Quick Facts ................................................................................... 11 


OCCUPATIONS AND EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS .............................................................................................. 12 


OOD ñ Successful Employment Outcomes by Major Standard Occupation Code (SOC)....................... 12 
OOD ñ Successful Employment October by Jobs Ohio Regions (October 2010ñ June 2014).............. 13 
Ohioís Labor Market Information and Projections....................................................................................... 14 


BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT................................................................................................................................... 17 


Barriers to employment for persons with a disability ñ Survey Statistics ............................................... 17 
Barriers to employment for persons with a disability ñ Literature Review.............................................. 18 
Workforce Integration Task Force ñ Data and Information Resources ................................................... 20 


For questions regarding this report, please contact: Raivo Murnieks, Deputy Director of Performance and 
Innovation, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, at Raivo.Murnieks at OOD.ohio.gov or 614-438-1254. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


PURPOSE 

The purpose of this report is to provide the Ohio Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT) members with 
data and information to support their decision-making and resulting recommendations to the Governor 
by January 1, 2015 as it pertains to Section 751.20 of Ohio H.B. 483, which was enacted into law on June 
16, 2014. Specifically, the information in this report will inform the task force so that it can make 
recommendations regarding how those individuals may be more fully integrated into the workforce to 
increase employability and income parity: 

. 
Number of individuals who are blind or deaf 

. 
The average income levels for those individuals who are employed compared to those who are 

not employed 

. 
Where those individuals are geographically located 

. 
The number of those individuals who are employed and in what job categories they are employed 

. 
Whether barriers to employment exist for those individuals 

METHODOLOGY 

There is no single accepted definition of disability. Different definitions and disability questions may 
identify different populations with disabilities and result in larger or smaller estimates. For consistency, 
the WIT data research subgroup determined that the most effective source of data to address Ohio 
specific information regarding the total number of individuals who are blind or deaf is through the U.S. 

Census Bureauís American Community Survey (ACS). 

The two ACS survey questions used to identify persons with vision and hearing disabilities are as follows: 

Hearing Disability (asked of all ages): Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing? 

Visual Disability (asked of all ages): Is this person blind or does he/she has serious difficulty seeing 

even when wearing glasses? 

Note that the Census Bureau / ACS refers to each of the individual types as "difficulty" while in this report the term 
"disability" is used. The terms ìdisabilityî and ìimpairmentî are used in this report. 

Further, to get the most accurate information of these individuals to be representative of all counties, the 
ACS 5-Year estimates are being used in this report. This data source will address the two elements of the 
number of blind or deaf and where they are geographically located. In addition, it aligns with the 2012 
Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA). National level trend charts regarding overall 
disability employment and workforce participation trends provided in the ëBackgroundí section of this 
report utilized Current Population Survey data as a source. 

Research Publications 
The Ohio Longitudinal Transition Study -Annual State Report Spring 2014 
http://www.olts.org/state-reports/2014-state-report.pdf 

2012 Vocational Rehabilitation Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (JAWS Accessible) 
http://ood.ohio.gov/docs/internet-documents/rsc-csna-report-2012_final-jaws.pdf (Pages 56-78) 

Disability Statistics ñ American Community Survey and Current Population Survey (Query Tool and 
Reports) www.disabilitystatistics.org ñ Query Tool 
http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/StatusReports/2012-PDF/2012-StatusReport_OH.pdf?CFIDñOhio Report 

Ohio Labor Market Information ñ Ohio Job Outlook 2020 Projections 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


http://ohiolmi.com/proj/OhioJobOutlook.htm 

BACKGROUND 

Nationally, in 2013, 17.6 percent of persons with a disability were employed. In contrast, the 
employment-population ratio for those without a disability was 64.0 percent. The employment-population 
ratio was little changed from 2012 to 2013 for both groups. The unemployment rate for those with a 
disability was 13.2 percent in 2013, higher than the rate for persons with no disability (7.1 percent). The 
jobless rate for persons with a disability was little changed from 2012 to 2013, while the rate for those 
without a disability declined. (Source Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release PERSONS WITH A 
DISABILITY: LABOR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS ó2013 ñ 
June 11, 2014) Note: The unemployment rate is the 
percentage of total workforce who are unemployed and who are actively looking for a paid job; this does not include 

individuals who are not actively seeking employment. 

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/unemployment-rate.html#ixzz37ReM4Rlt 

Ohio Labor Market Participation Trends ñ 
All Disabilities 

Source: Current Population Survey -www.disabilitystatistics.org 
In the year 2011, an estimated 9.7 percent (plus or minus 1.3 percentage points) of civilian non-
institutionalized, men and women, aged 21-64 in Ohio reported a work limitation. In other words, 
651,000 out of 6,709,000 (or about one in 10) civilian non-institutionalized, men and women, aged 2164 
in Ohio reported a work limitation. The estimated percentage above is based on a sample of 2,975 
persons who participated in the Current Population Survey (CPS). 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


In the year 2011, an estimated 17.1 percent (plus or minus 5.2 percentage points) of civilian non-
institutionalized, men and women with a work limitation, aged 18-64 in Ohio worked more than 52 hours 
in the prior calendar year. In other words, 114,000 out of 667,000 (or about one in 6) civilian non-
institutionalized, men and women with a work limitation, aged 18-64 in Ohio worked more than 52 hours 
in the prior calendar year. 

In the year 2012, an estimated 10.4 percent (plus or minus 0.95 percentage points) of non-
institutionalized persons aged 21 to 64 years with a disability in Ohio who were not working, were actively 
looking for work. While an estimated 11.0 percent (plus or minus 2.58 percentage points) with a visual 
disability and 14.4 percent (plus or minus 2.9 percentage points) with a hearing disability in Ohio who 
were not working, were actively looking for work. 

Ohio Job Seeker Proportionality by Disability Type 


Source: 2012 Vocational Rehabilitation Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment 

In Ohio, of the projected 225,000 individuals with a disability that are seeking employment, more than 
40,000 individuals with a visual or hearing impairment are seeking employment. The table above 
demonstrates that the proportion of all Ohioans with disabilities estimated to be seeking employment, 

10.4 percent are represented by those with a visual impairment and 7.5 percent are represented by 
those with a hearing impairment. 
Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Ohio Prevalence Rates by Disability Type 


Ohio Employment Rates by Disability Type 


In 2012, of working age Ohioans (21-64), the employment rate for individuals with a hearing disability 
was 50.1 percent and for those with a visual disability it was 36.1 percent. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Maps ñ 
Ohio County Disability Type Population and Prevalence Rates 

Ohioans age 18-64 with a Hearing Disability -ACS 5-Year Estimate Total (n) = 157,951 


According to the ACS, in 2012, there were almost 158,000 Ohioans with hearing disability. Counties in 
the southeast portion of the state tend to have a higher prevalence (3% or more) of their age 18-64 
populations with hearing disability as compared to counties in the northwest and northeast. In the three 
largest metropolitan counties (Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton) the prevalence of hearing disability is 
between one and two percent. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Ohioans age 18-64 with a Visual Disability -ACS 5-Year Estimate Total (n) = 122,192 


According to the ACS, in 2012, there were more than 122,000 Ohioans with a vision disability. Counties 
in the southern part of the state tend to have a higher prevalence (3% or more) of their age 18-64 
populations with vision disability. The largest concentration in the numbers of individuals with vision 
disability is in northeast and southwest Ohio. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


OHIO INCOME LEVELS AND INCOME DISPARITY FACTORS 

Annual Earnings 


Income disparity for Ohioís full-time workers with a visual disability is more significant than for those 
individuals with a hearing disability; their median earnings are almost 25 percent less than it is for 
individuals without a disability. Median earnings for individuals with a hearing disability are almost 
equivalent to those individuals without a disability. 

Full-Time versus Part-Time Employment 


Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Income Disparity ñ Education and Full-Time v Part-Time Employment 


The table above is from an article from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, titled ëThe Effect of 
Education on the Occupational Status of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing 26-64 Year Oldsí ñ by Gerard Walter 
and Richard Dirmeyer. 

Literature documenting the economic status of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in the United States has 
consistently indicated that these disabled persons are underemployed and earn significantly less than 
their hearing peers. In the last quarter of the 20th century federal legislation sought to eliminate 
discrimination based on disability, by requiring reasonable accommodations in school and in the 
workplace. One result of this legislation has been increased access by deaf and hard-of-hearing persons 
to colleges and universities in the United States. This paper reviews the literature on employment of 
persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and reports results using the 2010 American Community Survey. 
Results indicate that there have been significant gains in college attendance and graduation during the 
last third of the 20th century and those individuals who attain a college degree realize significant 
economic benefits, through increased employment and earnings, when compared with individuals who 
have not graduated. It also appears from this study that college graduation aids in reducing, but not 
eliminating, the gap between the earnings of deaf and hard of hearing persons who have a college 
degree and hearing persons who have a college degree. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


OOD -Education, Income, and SSI/SSDI Benefits 


The tables above represent the subset of OOD served individuals who reported a visual or hearing 
impairment as their primary disability and who exited Ohioís Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program with 
a successful employment outcome, between October 2010 and May 2014. This data supports the 
summary findings of the Walter and Dirmeyer report. 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may also be contributing 
factors in income earned from a job and whether individuals pursue part-time versus full-time employment; i.e. 
of OOD consumers that attained employment but are still receiving SSI/SSDI benefits, tend to work less hours 
earn less income from their job, than individuals who are not receiving SSI/SSDI benefits. In addition, the 
average hourly wage, of individuals that work more hours, is higher than those who work less (part-time) hours; 
this further exacerbates the income gap. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


10 


SSI/SSDI Benefit Program Impact and Quick Facts 

Fast Facts and Figures about Social Security, 
http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2013/fast_facts13.pdf 


In the year 2012, of non-institutionalized Ohioans aged 21 to 64 years, an estimated 19.5 percent 
(plus or minus 2.61 percentage points) with a visual disability and 13.7 percent (plus or minus 2.00 
percentage points) with a hearing disability received SSI benefits. (www.disabilitystatistics.org 

ñ 
ACS Supplemental Security Income query) 
Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Per the SSAís ë2014 Red Bookí, http://www.ssa.gov/redbook/documents/TheRedBook2014.pdf, 
Ohioís 2014 SSI threshold eligibility amount is $36,063. The ìthreshold amountî is the measure that 

the Social Security Administration uses to decide whether earnings are high enough to replace SSI and 

Medicaid benefits. The threshold amount is based on: 
The amount of earnings that would cause SSI cash payments to stop and 
The average annual per capita Medicaid expenditure for Ohio. 


If gross earnings are higher than the threshold amount an individual may still be eligible if they have: 
Impairment-related work expenses (see page 19 of 2014 Redbook); 
Blind work expenses (see page 45 of 2014 Redbook ); 
A Plan to Achieve Self-Support (see page 22 of 2014 Redbook); 
Publicly funded attendant or personal care; or 
Medical expenses above the state per capita amount. 

OCCUPATIONS AND EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS 

OOD ñ Successful Employment Outcomes by Major Standard Occupation Code (SOC) 

OOD Successfully Employed by Occupation*
October 2010 - May 2014 
Major SOC Category DescriptionOOD Visually ImpairedAverage Hr. WageMajor SOC Category and Administrative Support Occupations280$11.20Office and Administrative and Related Occupations81$10.61Production Occupations100$Training and Library Occupations79$18.11Building and Grounds Cleaning Occupations76$10.13Transportation and Material and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occu67$9.43Food Preparation and Serving and Social Services Occupations66$15.22Healthcare Practitioners Occupations63$17.36Personal Care and Service Preparation and Serving Related Occupations63$9.17Education, Training and and Material Moving Occupations54$11.59Installation, Maintenance Practitioners and Technical Occupations52$23.77Sales and Related Occupations49$Support Occupations48$15.00Management Occupations41$and Financial Operations Occupations39$15.76Community and Social Services Care and Service Occupations36$9.62Healthcare Support Occupations34$Maintenance and Repair Occupations36$13.31Arts, Design, Entertainment, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occ29$16.49Construction and Extraction and Extraction Occupations22$15.55Computer and Mathematical and Mathematical Occupations21$21.04Architecture and Engineering Occupations14$31.27Business and Financial Operations Service Occupations11$9.24Protective Service Occupations15$and Engineering Occupations9$21.77Life, Physical, and Social Physical, and Social Science Occupations5$22.44Legal Occupations4$Training, and Library Occupations3$31.13Farming, Fishing and Forestry Fishing and Forestry Occupations2$9.84Education, Training, and Total1156$13.62Grand Total1056$excludes 'RSA Special Occupations and Miscellaneous' 
When evaluating where OOD has been traditionally successful in assisting individuals in finding a job, 
occupations that require less education have resulted in a higher volume of placements. However, those 
occupations pay significantly less than occupations requiring a technical or college degree. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


OOD ñ 
Successful Employment October by Jobs Ohio Regions (October 2010ñ 
June 2014) 

Visually Impaired ñ 
All Occupations ñ 
Number Employed and Average Wage by County 


Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Hearing Impaired ñ All Occupations ñ Number Employed and Average Wage by County 


Ohioís Labor Market Information and Projections 
Employment projections are updated every two years by the Ohio Department of Job 
and Family Services' Bureau of Labor Market Information. The projections are widely 
used for studying long-range economic and employment trends, planning education 
and training programs, and developing career information. The latest edition, 
http://ohiolmi.com/proj/OhioJobOutlook.htm, uses employment statistics through 2010 as a foundation 
to project employment conditions for the 10-year period ending in 2020. 

For Ohioís six JobsOhio Network Regions, the difference between 2010 and 2020 

projected change in employment ranges from 25,000 in the Nelsonville Region to 186,100 in the 
Cleveland Region. The largest increase is projected in the Columbus Region, at 10.7 percent, followed by 
the Cincinnati Region at 10.3 percent. The Cleveland Region matched the statewide average for 
projected employment change at 9.3 percent. Regions where projected change fell below the state 
average were Toledo Region at 8.5 percent, Dayton Region at 8.3 percent, and 
Nelsonville Region at 7.5 percent. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


From October 2010ñMay 2014, OOD has realized the greatest success in helping individuals with visual and 
hearing impairments find and retain employment in ëoffice and administrative supportí occupations. The map 
below demonstrates the projected labor market change through 2020, that indicates an across the board 
increase in the number of jobs specific to this occupation, by Ohio region. Note: Labor Market Information (LMI) 
occupation market change data is only available at a regional level, not by county, thus the numbers on the map represent 

the total number by region, not for each county. 


The map on the next page shows the county of residence of individuals OOD has assisted, with hearing 
and visual impairments, along with their average hourly wage specific to ëoffice and administrative 
supportí occupations. Although the forecast LMI map indicates that more openings are projected in the 
Toledo Region versus the Dayton Region, the OOD data indicates that from October 2010-May 2014 that 
almost twice as many OOD served individuals with visual and hearing impairments were placed in the 
Dayton Region versus the Toledo Region. This is just one example of data analysis that is available to the 
Task Force and can be explored for each major occupation; especially those occupations that have 
resulted in successful employment outcomes. 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


15 


OOD Average Wage 


Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT 

Barriers to employment for persons with a disability ñ 
Survey Statistics 

MAY 22, 2013 -HTTP://WWW.BLS.GOV/OPUB/TED/2013/TED_20130522.HTM 
ìHalf of the 23.1 million men and women with a disability who were not employed in May 2012 reported 
at least one barrier to employment. When asked to identify barriers they had encountered, most reported 
that their own disability was a barrier to employment (80.5 percent). 

Persons with a disability 16 years and over who were not employed with a barrier to employment 
by age, sex, and type of barrier, May 2012 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Persons with a disability 16 years and over who were not employed with a barrier to employment 
by age, sex, and type of barrier, May 2012 
Characteristic 
Percent of total not employed with a barrier to employment by type of barrier 
Loss of 
government 
assistance 
Lack of job 
counseling 
Employer 
or 
coworker 
attitudes 
Need for 
special 
features at 
the job 
Lack of 
transportation 
Lack of 
education 
or training 
Own 
disability Other 
Total, 16 years 
and over 
4.2 5.7 7.9 10.3 11.7 14.1 80.5 18.0 
16 to 64 years 5.0 7.0 9.7 12.3 14.3 16.5 83.5 15.1 
65 years and 
over 
2.6 2.6 4.1 5.9 5.9 8.6 74.1 24.4 
Men 4.3 6.7 7.7 9.9 11.5 14.6 81.9 16.7 
Women 4.2 4.8 8.1 10.7 11.8 13.6 79.5 19.1 
NOTE: Percents may sum to more than 100 percent because persons with a disability were able to report more than one 
barrier to employment. 

Other barriers cited included lack of education or training (14.1 percent), lack of transportation (11.7 
percent), and the need for special features at the job (10.3 percent). A greater proportion of persons ages 
16 to 64 reported a barrier to employment than those age 65 and over, perhaps reflecting the fact that 
older workers are, in general, less likely to participate in the labor force. Among persons with a disability 
age 25 and over, a smaller proportion of persons with a college degree who were not employed reported 
a barrier to employment than those with less than a high school diploma.î 


Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Barriers to employment for persons with a disability ñ Literature Review 
Barriers to employment can be thought of as falling into three broad groups: personal, societal, and 

programmatic (OíDay, 1999). 

Personal barriers are connected to the individual seeking work. These can include the personís disability or 

disabilities; lack of education or educational weaknesses; lack of work experience or marketable skills; lack of 
or poor social interaction and communication skills; lack of knowledge or motivation for a job search, and so 

on (OíDay, 1999). Some personal barriers may have roots outside of the individual. For example, students with 

disabilities may have received inadequate career guidance or negative feedback that which may later affect 
their abilities and motivation for a job search (O'Day, 1999; Riesen, Morgan, Schultz, & Kupferman, 2014). 
Those unsuccessful in the search for work may stopping looking for work and lose hope of finding work (OíDay, 
1999). 

A second group of barriers are societal (OíDay, 1999). These barriers are external to individuals or their 
disabilities and cannot be ëovercomeí by the individualís own efforts. Societal barriers include negative public 
attitudes about disabilities, social stigma, discrimination, the lack of access to technology, and the lack of 
public transportation. Blind and visually impaired individuals may face issues with transportation. Local areas 
may not have adequate public transportation, work sites or work schedules may not be convenient to public 

transportation, and travel times may be prohibitively long (OíDay, 1999). Negative attitudes toward disabilities, 

including limited expectations about the ability to perform a job, are a commonly mentioned major barrier to 
finding and keeping a job. For example, McDonnall and colleagues (McDonnall, O'Mally, & Crudden, 2014) 
found that employers often have limited or no knowledge of how a blind or visually impaired person might 
perform routine job tasks. Participants in one study felt employers had difficulty in sorting out job 

qualifications from disabilities (OíDay, 1999). Those participants felt the need for accommodation was a 

barrier to employment, and participants that had been employed in the past had few or no accommodations. 

Communication difficulties may be a major barrier for deaf workers, and they may be located with the 
individual, the employment site, and service agencies (Luft, 2000). Many deaf individuals rely on American 
Sign Language and are not fluent in English. This may limit the ability to take advantage of emerging 
technologies in the workplace. Luft (2000) identified six areas in which there could be communications 
difficulties in dealing with deaf workers: job training, socializing with coworkers, internal meetings, work-
related social functions, receiving work instruction and supervision, and performance evaluation. Luft (2000) 
noted that those dealing with deaf workers need communication competency and cultural knowledge, 
particularly members of the Deaf Community. 

Kaye, Jans, and Jones (2011) examined attitudes among HR professionals and supervisors at companies that 
had been identified as resistant to hiring persons with disabilities. Common reasons companies might not hire 
persons with disabilities included: the cost of accommodations, lack of awareness in how to deal with workers 
with disabilities and their accommodation needs, fear of being stuck with a worker who cannot be disciplined 
or fired because of a possible lawsuit, difficultly an assessing an applicantís ability to perform job tasks, 
concerns over supervisory time, concerns over work quality, lack of job candidates with disabilities, and a 
perception that workers with disabilities cannot perform essential job duties. Common reasons companies 

might not retain workers with disabilities included: lack of awareness as how to handle workersí needs, 

concern that workers with disabilities will become legal or financial liabilities, concern over the cost of 
accommodations, concerns over job performance, difficulty in assessing whether the worker can do the job, 
belief the person cannot do the jobs, and belief that workers developing disabilities become less dependable. 

Cornell Universityís Employment and Disability Institute surveyed HR professionals about barriers to 
employment for people with disabilities (Erickson, 2013). Commonly mentioned barriers included a lack of 
qualified candidates, a lack of skills and training on the part of individuals with disabilities, and lack of related 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


experience. Other barriers included a lack of supervisor knowledge about accommodations and attitudes and 
stereotypes of those in the workplace. About 20 percent of those responding mentioned the cost of 
accommodations. 

A third set of barriers are programmatic. SSI and SSDI policies and the perceptions and attitudes of SSA staff 

make it difficult for those receiving benefits to work or return to work (OíDay, 1999). Working too much may 

result in loss of benefits. When work affects benefits, it may take months for changes to be processed, which 
may result in over payments that must be repaid. 

The U.S. General Accountability Office (2010) conducted a forum (which also used survey responses) on 
actions that could increase work participation for adults with disabilities. Responses focused on individuals 
with disabilities, employers, and Federal programs. In terms of individuals with disabilities, forum participants 
wanted policies that improved incentives for individuals with disabilities to work while strengthening supports 
and services on which they depend. Other suggestions include tax incentives to individuals and promotion of a 
team approach to help individuals stay at or return to work. 

When it came to employers, participants in the GAO forum proposed two different policy approaches aimed at 
employers. One approach focused on an information campaign to raise employer awareness of the financial 
benefits (rather than legal responsibilities) of retaining employees with disabilities or returning them to work. 
Such a plan would be more accepted if it came from a well-known private research organization and not a 
federal agency or a non-profit working with persons with disabilities. Information on the financial benefits of 
retaining workers with disabilities should be distributed through a strategic and coordinated marketing plan. 
However, participants noted an information campaign alone might not be enough, that a campaign might have 
negative effects for individuals with certain disabilities, and the part information campaigns have had limited 
success. 

A second employer approach would increase incentives to employers by increasing employersí financial 

responsibility for employees who exit the workforce. Employers who are less successful at retaining employees 
with disabilities might pay higher payroll taxes. Employers would be required to provide disability benefits for 

an extended period if employeesí disabilities prevented them from performing their job duties. Participants 

noted this approach could create incentives for employees to avoid job candidates with greater risk of 
experiencing work disabilities, increased privacy concerned related to employer involvement in employee 
healthcare, and the difficulty in establishing experience-based payroll taxes for business. 

Bibliography 

Erickson, W. (2013). Research Brief: Employer Practices and Polcies Regarding the Employment of Persons with 
Disabilities. 

Kaye, H. S., Jans, L. H., & Jones, E. C. (2011). Why Don't Employers Hire and Retain Workers with Disabilities? Journal of 
Occupational Rehabilitation, 21, 526-536. 

Luft, P. (2000). Communication barriers for deaf employees: Needs assessment and problem-solving strategies. Work, 14, 
51-59. 

McDonnall, M. C., O'Mally, J., & Crudden, A. (2014, May-June). Employer Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Employees 
Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 213-225. 

O'Day, B. (1999, October). Employment Barriers for People with Visual Impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & 
Blindness, 93(10). 

Riesen, T., Morgan, R., Schultz, J., & Kupferman, S. (2014). School-to-Work Barriers as Identified by Special Educators, 
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, and Community Rehabilitation Professionals. Journal of Rehabiliation, 80(1), 33-44. 

U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2010). Highlights of a GAO Forum: Actions that Could Increase Work Participation 
for Adults with Disabilities. Washington, D.C. 
Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


19 


Workforce Integration Task Force ñ 
Data and Information Resources 

Workforce Integration Task Force ñ 
Data and Information Resources 

Source Findings 
Task Force 
Value 
ACS 5 Year Estimates ñ 
Including Survey Definition of 
Disability Questions 
All counties available; Employment status; 
Class of worker; Occupation; Industry; 
Commuting to Work; Educational Attainment; 
Earnings; Poverty Status 
High 
Ohio Labor Market Information 
http://ohiolmi.com/proj/OhioJobOutlook.htm 
The Ohio Job Outlook includes industry and 
occupational employment projections for 
Ohio, the six regions of the JobsOhio 
Network 
High 
Social Security 
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bl 
uebook/2.00-SpecialSensesandSpeech-Adult.htm 
Statutory definitions of blindness and deafness High 
Ohio Department of Public Safety 
http://bmv.ohio.gov/dl_vision_screening_areas.stm 
Definition/guidelines of vision adequate for gett 
drivers licenses 
High 
Ohio Vocational Rehabilitation Case Management System 
(AWARE) 
Comprehensive Disability Type and County 
level information, including occupations, 
wages, education attainment, etc. for all 
successful closures for the past five years 
(this data is most reliable from October 
2010). 
High 
RSA 911 2012 
https://rsa.ed.gov/view.cfm?rsaform=ARR&state=OH&fy= 
2012&grant=H126A120052#skipnav 
Income levels of those employed compared 
to those not yet employed. Source is from 
AWARE 
High 
Prevent Blindness 
http://www.visionproblemsus.org/ 
Vision Impairment Prevalence Rates by State. 
Some county information available. 
High 
2012 RSC Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment Ohio 
Among other, includes discussion of barriers 
to employment. 
High 
November 2012 National Industries of the Blind survey 
based from Cincinnati 
www.nib.org/sites/default/files/NIB%20Hiring%20Manag 
er%20Study%20(Releasable).pdf 
Views of over 400 employers nationwide on 
their views of work barriers. *possibly* we 
can get Ohio-related results. 
High 
Bureau of Labor Statistics 
http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130522.htm 
Employment Data on vision loss population 
http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/blindnessstatistics/
adults/interpreting-bls-employment-data/1234 
Barriers to Employment 
National Employment Data Pertaining to 
People with Vision Loss (16 Years of Age and 
Over) 
High 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Ohio Longitudinal Transition Study 
http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Specialio Longitudinal Transition Study 
http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/SpecialEducation/
Resources-for-Parents-and-Teachers-ofStudents-
wit/Ohio-Longitudinal-Transition-Study-OLTS 
Report on special education students after 
high school. Looks at higher education 
enrollment, training program, and 
competitive employment. 
High 
2013 Disability Statistics Compendium National and some state-by-state 
comparative statistics regarding employment, 
Medium 
www.Disabilitystatistics.org 
income such as SSI/SSDI, and cross-disability 
comparisons 
BLS Household data (Based on CPS) 
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/dissup.pdf 
Employment status by demographics and 
disability status; employed persons by 
disability and occupation; disability status by 
industry; disability status by full v part time 
work; disabled non-institutional population 
employment; type of disability not available; 
state level data is not available 
Medium 
Social Security Administration 
2014 RED BOOK 
http://www.ssa.gov/redbook/documents/TheRedBook20 
14.pdf 
Fast Facts about Social Security, 2013 
http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2 
013/fast_facts13.pdf 
A summary guide to employment supports 
for persons with disabilities under the social 
security disability insurance and 
supplemental security income programs 
Fast Facts & Figures answers the most 
frequently asked questions about the 
programs SSA administers. It highlights basic 
program data for the Social Security 
(retirement, survivors, and disability) and 
Supplemental Security Income programs. 
Social Security ñ 
Income of Disabled Workers 
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/in 
come_workers/di_chart.pdf 
Medium 
BLS -Veteran Population Survey Presence of service connected disability 
employment data (counts); Not available at 
the state level. 
Medium 
Center for Instructional Supports and Accessible Materials County-by-county district break-down of Medium 
(CISAM) http://cisam.ossb.oh.gov/FederalQuota.php blind/low-vision learners age 5-HS graduation 
by geography and by preferred learning 
medium (Braille, large print, and audio.) 
American Printing house for the Blind 
http://www.aph.org/federalquota/
dist11.html annual reports. 
Prevent Blindness Ohio 
http://ohiovisionproblems.preventblindness.org/common 
-causes-of-visual-impairment-and-blindness/ 
Offers county-by-county breakdown of 
blind/VI adults 40 and over. 
Medium 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


Social Security, Congressional Statistics, December 2012 Ohio 
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/factsheets/co 
ng_stats/2012/oh.html 
Breaks down SSI/SSDI blind recipients by 
congressional district. 
Medium 
National Federation of the Blind 
https://nfb.org/wtbw-main 
Hundreds of nation-wide Individual 
stories/categories of those offering their 
career journey and advice. 
Medium 
American Foundation for the Blind Career Connect 
http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/for-jobseekers/
12 
Hundreds of mentors nation-wide with 
searchable data base of those offering their 
career journey and advice. 
Medium 
Rider survey draft report from ODOT; 
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=108 
46455-ddef-4cc4-bb7c-f491c6b3be28&c=31554ea0-b9aa11e3-
bfc5-d4ae52724810&ch=32c3abb0-b9aa-11e3805a-
d4ae52724810 
5,500 respondents statewide, but not 
disability-related, on views regarding public 
transit. The majority of respondents have no 
other means of transportation. 
Medium 
Ohio Department of Health: Regional Infant Hearing 
Program legislative report 
http://www.helpmegrow.ohio.gov/~/media/HelpMeGrow 
/ASSETS/Files/Professionals%20Gallery/Infant%20Hearing 
/Infant%20Hearing%20Reports/2009%20RIHP%20Report. 
ashx 
Number and location (9 geographic regions) 
of infants diagnosed with hearing loss in Ohio 
since 2004. 
Medium 
Ohio Department of Education Has data related to the number of hearing 
and visually impaired children in Ohio, based 
on school district. This information may be 
very difficult to obtain based on the 
perceived notion that releasing this data may 
violate FERPA. 
Medium 
National Technical Institute of the Deaf: Annual Report 
http://www.ntid.rit.edu/sites/default/files/annual_report 
_2013.pdf 
Report produced annually. Surveys recent 
alumni after graduation to look at income, 
employment information of Deaf graduates. 
Includes occupational group, gender, and 
ethnicity information. 
Medium 
National Technical Institute of the Deaf: Collaboratory on 
Economic, Demographic, and Policy Studies 
http://www.ntid.rit.edu/research/collaboratory 
Richard Dirmyer, NTID Senior Institutional Researcher, 
585.475.7227, rcdnvd at ntid.rit.edu 
Uses info from SSA, ACS, and DOE to define 
the status of the population of deaf and hard 
of hearing. Looks beyond NTID to look at 
access to postsecondary education and the 
occupational status of deaf/hard of hearing 
nationally. Also looks at ethnic distribution of 
deaf/hard of hearing. 
Medium 
The Effect of Education on the Occupational Status of Deaf 
and Hard-of-Hearing 26-64 Year Olds. Rochester, NY: 
Investigates income disparity between 
deaf/hard of hearing and hearing population 
Medium 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester 
Institute of Technology. 
http://www.ntid.rit.edu/sites/default/files/effect_of_edu 
cation_on_occupational.pdf 
Institute of Technology. 
http://www.ntid.rit.edu/sites/default/files/effect_of_edu 
cation_on_occupational.pdf 
nationally. 
Gallaudet University: Annual Survey of Recent Graduates 
http://www.gallaudet.edu/Documents/OIR/Alumni%20Su 
rvey/Alumni_Survey_2011_12_Report_FINAL%200916201 
3.pdf 
Report produced annually. Surveys recent 
undergraduate and graduate alumni after 
graduation to look at income, employment 
information of Deaf graduates. Includes 
occupational group information. 
Medium 
National Federation of the Blind 
https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr19/fr05si03. 
htm 
Philosophical definition of blindness Medium 
Ohio Medicaid Medicaid has diagnosis codes. However, they 
are only primary diagnosis and will not 
capture multiple disabilities or impairments. 
They also tried looking at claims data but 
found that to be unhelpful. 
Low 
CHRR ñ WDQI Of the data included in WDQI only ABLE data 
has disability type designation. 
No occupation data is available in CHRR at 
this time. 
Low 
Ohio Means Jobs -OMJ Voluntary disability designation, type not 
available 
Low 
SCOTI ñ JVSG If barrier to employment is disability, type is 
only captured in case notes, cases could have 
information about accommodations for work 
Low 
Bureau of Workerís Compensation Work connected disability data only Low 
PepNet2 Research Brief: Employment data for adults who 
are Deaf or hard-of-hearing: 
http://www.pepnet.org/sites/default/files/employmentbr 
ief_v5.pdf 
Uses ACS data to draw conclusions about the 
employment status of deaf/hard of hearing 
nationally. 
Low 
NIH: NIDCD (Statistical Report: Prevalence of Hearing Loss 
in US Children) 
Most reports look at hearing loss as a 
heterogeneous group. This report breaks out 
hearing loss based on severity. 
Low 
Effect of postsecondary education on the economic status 
of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, Journal of 
Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 
http://jdsde.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/02/0 
Investigates the economic impact of college 
education for d/hoh and specifically looks at 
SSDI data in relation to deaf/hard of hearing. 
Low 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 


2/deafed.enq060.full.pdf+html 
Change in Prevalence of Hearing Loss in US Adolescents. 
Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 
304(7): 772 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1124 
Prevalence of hearing loss has increased 30% 
from 1988 to 2006, with 1 in 5 children 
having hearing loss. 
Low 
Association of hearing loss with decreased employment 
and income among adults in the United States. Ann Otol 
Rhinol Laryngol, 2012 Dec; 121(12): 771-5 
Study identifies differences in employment 
and wage income ($7,791) for those with 
hearing loss with economic impact. 
Low 
Prevalence of hearing aid use among older adults. Arch 
Internal Medicine, 2012; 172(3): 292-293. DOI: 
10.1001/archinternmed.2011.1408. 
1 in 20 adults (age 50-59) use hearing aids 
after being prescribed them, with any social, 
employment, and economic impact on 
families. 
Low 
The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss in Household 
Income. Better Hearing Institute, 2005 Aug. 
Hearing loss negatively impacts household 
income by $12,000, but the use of hearing 
aids can mitigate the effects of hearing loss 
by half. Broader economic impact is 
discussed. 
Low 
Ohio Bureau of Workersí Compensation: Interpreter data Can provide data on where Deaf BWC 
recipients are, including occupational codes, 
by pulling data related to interpreter services. 
Low 

Note on CPS data: The Current Population Survey (CPS) is conducted monthly by the US census Bureau for the US 
Department of Labor to measure various workforce conditions (this is the survey used as the basis for the monthly 
unemployment rate). In 2008, a set of 6 disability related questions were added to the survey. However, disability 
type is not collected. CPS notes the following reason (which we may want to keep in mind when we are developing 
any possible surveys) 

ìExtensive research conducted as part of the effort to include disability questions in the CPS demonstrated that it is 
very difficult to accurately measure all persons with disabilities using only a few questions. In like manner, research 
has also shown that it would be difficult to accurately identify persons with a specific type of disability using only 
one question. For example, questions tested during the research process that were designed to elicit positive 
responses from persons with one type of disability were equally likely to identify persons with other disabilities as 
well. (Cognitive reports that show such results are available from the BLS upon request, and from the Census 
Bureau's 2006 ACS Content Test Report Series, report P.4 (PDF).) Given this research and the relatively small sample 
size of the CPS, data users are advised to avoid using the CPS for the purpose of identifying persons with specific 
disabilities.î 

Workforce Integration Task Force | Demographics and Analysis 





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