Message from the Superintendent
Employment First Initiative
As reported last Fall, the Muskingum County Board of Developmental Disabilities approved an Employment First Initiative for Starlight Programs. Our local effort is a part of a statewide and nationwide initiative to change the way programs plan, fund and implement community integrated employment. It makes working in the community the preferred outcome for persons of working age with developmental disabilities. Our Employment First Initiative Taskforce was set up to reflect the entire scope of Starlight Programs from Early Intervention through Adults Services. This broad-based approach was designed to include and engage families and persons with developmental disabilities at all ages to create a culture change and develop employment expectations for all working age adults. The County Board and the Taskforce adopted the following purpose, vision, and value statements for this initiative:
To identify and address barriers to employment for people with developmental disabilities.
It is the vision of the Employment First Taskforce that everyone has the opportunity to work in the community.
- Opportunity for choice for people with developmental disabilities is paramount.
- Working in the community creates a positive culture for people with developmental disabilities.
- Collaboration and partnerships are essential parts of the success of creating job opportunities in the community.
- Creating job opportunities in the community is an effective and efficient use of community resources.
- Employment of people with developmental disabilities adds diversity to the community's workforce.
Over the past year the Taskforce has been reviewing the statewide initiative, identifying barriers to community employment, discussing solutions and reviewing Strategic Plan Action Steps for Starlight Programs to move our local initiative forward. In addition, the committee has been kept informed of progress of the Ohio Department of DD (DODD) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) project in Muskingum County to identify people who desire community employment, provide them with training and job coaching and matching them with jobs in the community. To date, ten people are involved in the DODD/OOD project with one person finding a job in the community. The County Board and the Employment First Taskforce remain committed to engaging people with developmental disabilities, their families and the community to make integrated employment the first choice of all working age adults with developmental disabilities.
Current members of the taskforce include:
Early Intervention – Eileen Liles
Pre-School – Sarah Paul
School Age – Barb Reinbeau, Brenda Allen
School – Cindy Brenning
Adult Services –David Newton, Missy Hartley, Tim Duff, Kelly Jackson
SSA – Joel Linnabary
Administration – John Hill, Cathy Smith, Dee Fountain, MaryAnn Cluse, Larry Wheeler, Michele Seward
MSI Board Member – Toby Rogovin
169 Board Member – Cathy Martin
People with Disabilities – Cody Brooks, Trisha Crock
Family Members – Diana White, Janet Hardin
Public Schools – David Branch, Zeb Wood
Current Business Partners – Florafino’s Flower Market (Greg Orofino), Red Lobster (Rick Hutcheson) SEAT (Howard Stewart)
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities—Barbara Korba
John E. Hill