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Business Advisory Council Advancing Employment First

The Business Advisory Council (BAC) was formed in 2021, with the primary goal to expand and enhance employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Staff from the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities (ACBDD), local employment partners, and family members of individuals served were the original members.

During the first several meetings, the group discussed the biggest needs and barriers for individuals seeking employment. Some of those concerns included transportation, staffing shortages, difficulty finding jobs, and the lack of knowledge about available employment/waiver support services. The group also focused on how to help teachers, individuals, families and employers become aware of what supports are available regarding employment.

To address the concern of getting information out to others, the BAC held an Independence Fair in 2022. Individuals and families attended and were able to meet with community agencies to learn more about available services in the area. There were approximately 70 individuals/family members, 23 Board staff and 47 representatives from provider and community agencies in attendance. This was a great way to get the word out about employment resources and supports available.

During BAC meetings, members share insights and information to help one another know updates, rules, progress and goals for all involved. This includes information like Americans with Disability Act (ADA), National Disability Employment Awareness Month, ensuring accessibility for employees of all abilities, and trainings offered by Opportunities for Ohioan with Disabilities (OOD). One area this group has been watching and discussing is changes planned by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD). These changes include looking at ways to improve adult day services, transportation, and strengthening competitive integrated employment outcomes in Ohio. While DODD is still working on these changes, the self-directed transportation waiver service has been implemented, and has improved employment opportunities for many people.

This year, the BAC reached out to some local employers about joining and several have, including Chief Markets, Good Food Restaurants and the City of Lima HR. This new partnership has already resulted in a success story. The HR representative from the City of Lima was able to provide their co-workers information about supports and resources that are available when hiring individuals with disabilities. When an applicant with a disability recently applied for a position, this insight helped lead to a successful hire!

If you are a business interested in joining the BAC quarterly meetings, please contact Tammy Smith, Employment Coordinator, at 419-221-1385 ext. 2869 or


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