Community Employment Resource Map
In Mahoning County, individuals with developmental disabilities work in a number of community settings, including clerical, landscaping, stock work, retail, food service, custodial, bakeries, manufacturing, and positions at radio stations. Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Mahoning DD) supports individuals in the community through their local Employment First Policy. Mahoning DD staff use person centered thinking and planning. They have modified versions of the positive person profile, which captures the individuals' interests, strengths, preferences and needs. This process starts with transition age youth, and there are service and support staff dedicated to working with this age group. There are also job clubs for transition age youth that highlight the importance of community as the first employment option and help prepare students to realize their future goals.
Mahoning DD is developing a training center that will utilize community resources and provide on- and off-site training. Collaboration will be a major component of this site and will enhance relationships with local businesses, public agencies, and nonprofits in the community. In addition there is the Mahoning County Networking Group comprised of local providers and agencies that share resources and other information.
Other collaborations include the Youth Employment Transition Initiative (YETI) Group where the local Educational Service Center (ESC), representatives from local school districts, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), private providers, charter schools, parent representatives, local career training centers and Mahoning DD.
There has been one individual who transitioned from school to community employment because of his involvement with the YETI program. He is currently working at Sam's Club and has been employed there for over 15 months. His placement was developed through braiding services at the ESC and Mahoning DD. He works an average of 20 hours a week and does not receive additional services. He is very happy, works well with co-workers, has increased confidence and independence.
The Northeast Ohio Region Network meets quarterly to network and collaborate about different initiatives related to Employment First in the area. There are also informational trainings opportunities to share resources and models for success.
Collaborations and the ability to build a strong foundation for employment first have been two influential factors on the community employment success in Mahoning County.