Community Employment Resource Map
There are many individuals with developmental disabilities working in the community in Hamilton County. These positions are diverse and widespread, including factory work, food packaging, food service, retail, breweries, and hospitals.
Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services (Hamilton DD) is dedicated to the Employment First initiative and has adopted two guiding principles: 1) Move toward integration and 2) Build capacity with community organizations to meet the needs of people with disabilities. To progress in these principles, they have developed enclaves, volunteer and internship opportunities and jobs that are all community-based. Hamilton DD also utilizes an individualized employment model that focuses on community integration and building natural supports through engaging with people who are closest to the individual being served. They have allocated time and resources to support individuals interested in career exploration and are targeting transition-age youth. Hamilton DD is also reviewing internal rules and making organizational changes so that community employment is a priority.
Hamilton DD collaborates with the local Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities agency, Ohio Means Jobs, and uses all available resources for the individuals they serve. They believe that private providers and others in the community can support individuals and hope to partner with these providers to build capacity in their communities. They also work closely with the local school districts and have a transition coordinator and staff dedicated to supporting several hundred transition age students.
One individual has been receiving services through a private provider for over a year. They created local connections by going to restaurants and breweries in his neighborhood. After a while, this individual was hired part time at the restaurant and also at a brewery. He is very happy with these positions, of which he has maintained for the past year, and has found significant natural supports with his coworkers.
The Employment First initiative and clear direction from state leadership has been a major factor in community employment in Hamilton County. Also the support from county leadership and the resources that have been allocated are influential in the success.