Bridges to Transition
About Bridges to Transition
Bridges to Transition (“Bridges”) is a Vocational Rehabilitation Public Private Partnership (VRP3) grant program, funded by County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (CBDD) and coordinated by the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency (OOD). This partnership began in 2009, and is now the largest VRP3 in the state.
The goal of Bridges is to expand career exploration and employment options for transition youth (ages 14-22) with developmental disabilities. The Ohio Association of County Boards is providing statewide project management and support for this VRP3. Bridges seeks to enhance career exploration options and increase employment outcomes by developing a collaborative network of services that will assist students in achieving their employment goals.
County Boards of Developmental Disabilities contribute local dollars and OOD matches those dollars with federal funds. Local CBDDs are helping to maximize money coming into the state to serve individuals with the most severe disabilities.
The Ohio Association of County Boards provides statewide project management for Bridges. This creates a very efficient system, allowing for a single point of contact for our partners, and a single point of contact for OOD. The Project Management Team provides technical assistance and training, progress monitoring, fiscal tracking, and administrative support. The team consists of:
Gina Weisshaar, Project Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org or 614.431.0616
Overview of The Bridges Model
In addition to believing everyone can work, we believe that collaboration is key. To that end, all Bridges partners are encouraged to focus on engaging individuals, families, schools and communities – including adult service agencies, employers, transportation providers and the like – in the transition process.
Every partner has the freedom to develop their project in a manner fitting their county, and we encourage “local flavor.” We know that a project in a large metropolitan area will look different than a project in a small, rural community. Additionally, some partners have subcontracted with other CBDDs in their area of the state to form partnerships of their own and further expand their abilities to serve transition youth with the most significant disabilities.
Each CBDD has a Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator serving their county. The role of the Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator is to: determine eligibility for Bridges; work with an OOD Counselor to determine eligibility and order of selection for OOD services; complete a comprehensive assessment of each individual and develop an Individualized Plan for Employment; coordinate the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services; engage families, schools and communities in the process. Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinators are encouraged to keep their caseloads relatively small (maximum of 40 to 60 individuals) in order to maximize the time and attention they have for each individual.
Bridges dollars are also being used to develop and expand vocational rehabilitation services. Since its inception, five Bridges partners have become Community Rehabilitation Programs, and an additional five have added services to their “menu” that focus on serving transition youth.
Current Program Partners
(List current as of April 2016)
How to Get Involved
The Bridges contract is renewed annually in September, however, new partners may be added throughout the year. If you are interested in becoming a Bridges partner, please contact us by clicking here.
Links and Additional Resources