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Fairfield County Employment First Initatives

Fairfield Medical Center (FMC) Project SEARCH
This training model is a collaborative effort between the Fairfield Medical Center, Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), and the Fairfield County Board of DD’s JobFusion Employment Service. JobFusion works closely with the Fairfield County Board of DD’s Transition Coordinator. This school-age transition program is based at Fairfield Medical Center and provides each participant with an opportunity to experience a variety of internships at the medical center during his or her Senior year of high school. Each student works in various departments including: dietary, laundry, recycling, front desk, surgery, physical therapy, and materials management. FMC supervisors and employees work with the students to help them develop skills and learn work ethics. The program also helps students improve and strengthen their focus, concentration, and learn ways to adapt in each department. An on-site instructor from Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools and job training services are provided by JobFusion with funding by the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. For more information, contact Susan Welliver, Program Specialist JobFusion Employment Services. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (614) 835-2700.

Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) Project SEARCH
This training model is a partnership with DSW, Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), and the Fairfield County Board of DD’s JobFusion Employment Services. The program is based at Designer Shoe Warehouse and is a paid job-training program tailored to the Logistics Industry. Interns begin with a two-week orientation, followed by three internships lasting ten, nine and eight weeks. Some of the interns exit before completing the full seven months because they have achieved competitive employment that makes use of the skills they learned while participating in the program. Interns are paid minimum wage. Skills curriculum is taught to the interns to industry standards. Interns begin the job-development process as early as possible after the first internship, and for those who demonstrate readiness for competitive work in the logistics industry.
Internship 1
Part A  Assemble Corrugate - Build cardboard boxes.
Part B  Case Break - Open cardboard cases and place shoeboxes on conveyor.
Part C  Induct Cases - Scan pallet with RF Scanner and lift cases onto conveyor.   
Internship 2
Industrial Environmental Sanitation - 5S Technique is used (sort, straighten, sweep, systemize, sustain); maintain orderliness throughout Warehouse.
Internship 3
Part A  Processing Accessories - Ticket, repack, scan barcodes with RF Scanner.
Part B  Processing Shoes - Sort, follow order, pack cases, scar barcodes, heavy RF Scanner use.
JobFusion provides oversight of the following programs on behalf of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
For more information, contact Doug Mitchell,  Manager,  JobFusion Employment Services,  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or phone (614) 835-2700.

DiscoverU - Project SEARCH
DiscoverU is an innovative training and employment model developed by the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities/JobFusion for individuals with disabilities. Partners for this program include River Valley Mall Management, Ohio Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (ODD), Project SEARCH, and the Fairfield County Board of DD/JobFusion Employment Services. The model was in part inspired by Governor Kasich’s Executive Order that “community employment should be the first option for all working age adults and transition-age youth with developmental disabilities”. In an effort to build business relationships, JobFusion wanted to be as close to businesses and jobs as possible. Working with the River Valley Mall Management, JobFusion was able to secure a 3000 square foot space with window frontage. Each intern participates in a 30-week training program. There are three, 10-week rotations. Each is a paid internship designed to both educate an individual about particular job responsibilities, and break down the barriers to employment by establishing working relationships between individual store managers and job candidates.
The interns work at mall businesses for a total of four hours per day. JobFusion Job Trainers assist interns with learning new tasks. A computer lab is available at DiscoverU for individuals to use. There is also a training classroom and meeting rooms.
JobFusion thanks River Valley Mall and our business partners in the mall: Charlie’s Steakery,  Elder-Beerman, Claire’s Boutique, Old Navy, Fun 4u Arcade, Bon Worth, and River Valley Mall Housekeeping. The effectiveness of  DiscoverU is heavily dependent on internship sites for DiscoverU participants to learn the skills they need, and to network with local employers.
DiscoverU’s doors opened on October 28, 2013. During the first year, over 100% of  the participants that  have completed the program have been hired at businesses throughout Fairfield County. All participants that have been hired have also retained their jobs with no turnover. For more information, contact Susan Welliver,  JobFusion Program Specialist,  and Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (614) 835-2700.

JobFusion - Community Employment Services

JobFusion is an Employment Service of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities. JobFusion supports each person’s desire to work, and believes that with our “cutting edge” job training and planning, individuals can be successful in employment.

JobFusion professionals serve local businesses with full-time, part-time, and seasonal staffing.
Employment services for Jobseekers are provided and/or funded by the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. (OOD)

JobFusion assists individuals with disabilities:
• Find and keep jobs to fit their needs and abilities.
• Learn how to arrange transportation to and from work.
• Improve performance and develop new techniques and skills.
• Identify their strengths and weaknesses.
• JobFusion matches an individual’s gifts and abilities with an employer’s needs in the workplace.
• JobFusion provides assistance and ongoing support to the individual and their parents/guardian.

Employment First
Ohio’s Employment First Initiative was launched on March 19, 2012, when Ohio Governor Kasich signed an Executive Order that declared community employment as the preferred option for people with developmental disabilities. The Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities put into place their “Community First Policy”. This policy encourages individuals “to find their own personal genius and have opportunities to explore work, community engagement, volunteerism, and entrepreneurship in their own community and in a manner that is least restrictive”. The FCBDD continues to be proactive in moving employment forward in Fairfield County with a number of innovative employment options and collaborative efforts with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), and the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD).

Initiative Partnership to Employment First
The Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) launched an initiative called Partnership to Employment First, geared towards assisting individuals with developmental disabilities transitioning from segregated settings such as workshops, adult day services, and enclaves, into integrated community-based employment. With funding provided by the DODD, 15 OOD Counselors in Ohio, have been hired to assist individuals in a workshop setting to find community employment. JobFusion is an active vendor of this initiative.

The Discovery process uses a team approach to get to know the individual being served. Team members participate in many phases of Discovery including a Discovery team meeting, an initial visit with the family, interviews, and observations, resulting in a Positive Personal Profile. The Profile identifies vocational, and/or community themes and opportunities to be pursued for the individual. The process also includes another team meeting called the Employment Planning Team Meeting. During this meeting, the Profile is shared, and team members identify vocational themes and options that can be pursued. JobFusion staff leads individuals through this exciting and rewarding process. For additional information, call Chanda Bussee, Discovery Program Manager, and (740) 652-7220.

JobFusion Employee Advisory Council

The JobFusion Work First Leadership Team (WFLT) held their first meeting on September 25, 2013 at JobFusion at the Pickerington Regional Office. The mission of the team is to be valued employees who contribute to their community and desire to lead fulfilling lives.  The vision of the team is to mentor and advocate employment for individuals with disabilities. The WFLT is comprised of eight workers with disabilities.  Susan Welliver, JobFusion Program Specialist, and Brandy Hug, JobFusion Trainer, serve as the group’s advisors.   Welliver noted that the group is involved in advocating for individuals with disabilities in a variety of ways including making presentations about the benefits of working in the community at area day habilitation centers such as the Opportunity Center.

The Fairfield DD/JobFusion Business Advisory Council (BAC) exists to assist in educating businesses in Fairfield County about the benefits of hiring employees with developmental disabilities, to provide expert business advice and council to DD/JobFusion, and to champion and advocate for Fairfield DD/JobFusion in the community-at-large.  

Specific examples of the work of the council include: 

•Keeping DD/JobFusion business minded and focused on the needs of businesses 

•Providing feedback on marketing efforts

•Act as an advocate when talking with businesses about the value of partnering with Fairfield DD/JobFusion

•Providing leads or assistance in connecting with businesses who might consider hiring an individual

•General organizational advocacy of Fairfield DD/JobFusion (who we are, what we do, why it’s important).  

Members are recruited to the BAC because of their belief in, and commitment to, supported employment, because of their leadership in the business community, and for their business expertise.

General Guidelines for the BAC: 

•The Council will consist of 11 members (10 from the community and 1 individual from JobFusion Employee Council)

•The Council will meet every other month (Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov)

•Terms will be for 3 years, with a limit of 2 consecutive terms on the Council

•Meetings will focus on BAC members assisting and guiding in employment related business issues and project in the community.


Center-Based Vocational and Employment Services

The Fairfield County Board of DD, through a joint operating agreement with Fairfield Industries, Inc., provides facility and community-based vocational training and work experiences for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Individuals employed by Fairfield Industries have the opportunity to earn a paycheck and to develop work skills.  The contracts and work opportunities provided by Fairfield Industries at the production facility located at the Opportunity Center generally consists of light assembly and packaging for many area businesses. In addition to earning a paycheck, individuals employed by Fairfield Industries work on refining work skills and reinforcing concepts related to work such as: responsibility, attendance, task completion, problem solving, social interaction, motor skill development, work hardening and safety.   For additional information about Fairfield Industries, please visit their website at: www.fairfieldindustriesohio.com.

For more information about Center-Based Vocational and Employment Services, please contact:

Brad Changet, Program Services Manager
4465 Coonpath Road
Carrol, Ohio 43112
(740) 652-7230 - Phone
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Transition Coordination

Early planning and preparation are essential for success in adulthood.   The Fairfield County Board of DD Adult Services Options Transition Coordinator is available to assist individuals, families, school programs, and support teams in planning and coordinating of school to adult life transition services.  The Fairfield County Board of DD Transition Coordinator serves as the Fairfield County project coordinator for the Ohio Rehabilitation Services grant initiative referred to as Bridges to TransitionBridges to Transition serves as a catalyst for the innovative approach known as “Discovery” as well as the futures planning process known as MAPS.  Our Transition Coordinator also facilitates the Fairfield County Transition Collaborative which is comprised of representatives from each of the Fairfield County School Districts, Fairfield County Board of DD, Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, Fairfield County Jobs & Family Services, Social Security Administration, Southern Ohio Council for Independent Living,  service providers, families and other stakeholders who are passionate about developing best-practice in transition services for Fairfield County.  This group meets every other month at the Ohio University Lancaster Campus. The Fairfield County Transition Collaborative serves as a model for the State of Ohio.

For more information about Transition services please contact:

Susan Barnett, Transition Coordinator
4465 Coonpath Road
Carroll, Ohio 43112
(740) 652-7230
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Blue Shoe Arts

Art and Clay on Main is the home of the nationally recognized Blue Shoe Arts studio.   Blue Shoe Arts provides an opportunity for individuals served by the Fairfield County Board of DD who have expressed an interest and passion in the arts with the opportunity to express themselves through art and to develop artistic skills and talents that will enable them to create works of art that are marketable and will generate income for the artists.

For additional information about Blue Shoe Arts, please visit the website at www.blueshoearts.org, or contact:

Pamela Whiteley - Studio Coordinator
Blue Shoe Arts Studio
150 West Main Street
Lancaster, Ohio 43130
(740) 653-1755 - Phone
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