Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is providing Summer Youth Work Experiences throughout Ohio. The five-week service provides students ages 14-21 with a disability the opportunity to explore careers and gain on-the-job training in a variety of local industries.

Approximately 480 students in Ohio — including four in Wood County — are participating in career exploration, which is geared toward younger students. From experiences shared by guests from various fields, to career-related field trips, students get an inside look at real work. Activities help students consider a broad range of employment possibilities, understand the skills required to do the work, and take inventory of interests and needs.

Work-based learning experiences help students build confidence and learn essential skills in a job setting. Youth are assigned to work sites based on their interests and abilities.

Approximately 2,130 Ohio students — 23 in Wood County — are working at job sites, receiving support from a job coach, and earning minimum wage.

Jay Burns works in the Provider and Contract Management Unit at OOD. He explained, “This is an early transformational experience of what work can be like.” Students learn more about who they are and what they want out of life.

A variety of on-the-job experiences are being provided at approximately 800 businesses throughout the state. Experiences are offered in many industries, including retail, food service, non-profit, manufacturing, sports venues, hospitals, amusement parks, and more.

OOD works with hundreds of providers throughout the state to make the summer work experiences possible.

“A great deal of planning goes into making summer youth experiences a success,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller. “Hats off to providers and staff for their efforts in helping youth gain a strong foothold in their career path.”

If you have a child, 14 years of age or older with a disability, reach out to OOD for more information on how the agency can help your child with career exploration, skill development, and strategies to get a job after graduation. Counselors begin talking with students and their parents, about next summer’s opportunities, beginning in the fall.

To find out more, go to https://www.ood.ohio.gov/transition-students.

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