Community Employment Resource Map

Darke County

Agribusiness, healthcare facilities, food service, retail, non-profits, and small businesses have employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities in Darke County. Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD) has a local Employment First Policy and created several positions that support community employment. Two of these positions include a transition coordinator who works to assist individuals who are currently in facility based settings to access community based services, and a community first transition coordinator who collaborates with the local school system. In addition to these positions, Darke DD will double its community services staff to better meet the needs of the individuals they serve. Darke DD also engages individuals in a discovery processes and person centered planning.

Being in a small county, Darke DD has been able to connect to several local agencies and employers. They collaborate with the County Economic Developer on the Partnering for Progress committee that is tasked with generating local business. They also partner with local school districts and are looking for ways to develop additional community based experiences for students with disabilities at the career technical sites. Students also participate in Bridges to Transition and Darke DD works with the local Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities office through the DODD-ODD partnership. Walgreen's has been an important employer in the area and has a training site for the Bridges summer program. The Ohio State University extension office also provides money management and other life skills services that individuals utilize.

One individual with autism completed the Bridges to Transition program and obtained a job at a local winery for about 18 hours a week upon graduation doing maintenance. The business owner wanted to invest in this employee and trained him on all aspects of the business, including labeling, corking, packing for delivery, wine prep, working with the tanks, pruning and harvesting the grapes, and maintaining inventory. This particular business partner cared about the success of his employee and provided the natural support for him to succeed.

Darke DD has had a longstanding relationship with several businesses and ensures that employer-employee matches are not only beneficial for the employee but also are good fits for the employer through adaptable and flexible job development. The community has historically given strong support to Darke DD and the community employment staff are all aware of and actively working toward the Employment First initiative.

Additional Resources:

Darke County's Website, click here.

Article, Summer Youth Work Experience

Click here to view Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities's Annual Action and Strategic Plan.