NFB-O Resolution 2015-01: Regarding National Association of Blind Merchants /Hadley School for the Blind Training

WHEREAS, state licensing agencies (SLA’s) under the Randolph-Sheppard Act are required to provide training to ensure that prospective blind entrepreneurs are qualified to manage and operate vending facilities; and,

WHEREAS, many state vocational rehabilitation agencies have inferior training programs or do not have the resources to provide effective training to prospective blind entrepreneurs; and,

WHEREAS, recruiting qualified candidates for the Randolph-Sheppard Program has become a challenge for many state licensing agencies; and,

WHEREAS, a major deterrent to attracting quality candidates is the time required away from home to complete training; and,

WHEREAS, the National Association of Blind Merchants and the Hadley School for the Blind have launched an online training program that represents the first ever national training curriculum for Randolph-Sheppard; and,

WHEREAS, the training is delivered using Hadley’s internationally recognized online training model; and,

WHEREAS, Hadley has a faculty instructor dedicated to teaching the online courses; and,

WHEREAS, most higher education institutions in this country now allow students to complete undergraduate and post-graduate degrees online, a platform that has proven successful for educating college students; and,

WHEREAS, this training is available to state vocational rehabilitation agencies at a reasonable cost per student; and,

WHEREAS, the Hadley training allows prospective Randolph-Sheppard vendors to complete critical modules that replace most of the classroom training, requiring only that the SLA’s provide state-specific training and hands-on experience; and,

WHEREAS, adopting this training will give our state’s blind citizens more options to be placed in other state Business Enterprise Programs: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio in Convention assembled this twenty-first day of November, 2015, in the city of Independence, Ohio, that this organization urge the Committee of Blind Vendors and the Business Enterprise Program management to give serious consideration to adopting the Hadley training as the core coursework or as an alternative to the core coursework required of all prospective Randolph-Sheppard entrepreneurs; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the Business Enterprise Program to develop a short-term training for educating trainees on state requirements and also to develop a hands-on, o


Resolution 2015-02: Regarding a Request that the State Legislature Convene an Ad Hoc Committee to Study Services for the Blind

WHEREAS, a robust economy and healthy tax base require the inclusion of all Ohio citizens who are willing and able to work in order to participate actively in civic life and to pay their fair share; and

WHEREAS, the opportunity to take part in the social and economic fabric of our state is no less sought after by blind people than by any other group of citizens; and

WHEREAS, our Ohio culture requires equality of opportunity for all; and

WHEREAS, such a requirement demands a variety of programs and services to bring appropriate regulation and the fostering of entrepreneurship, education, training and rehabilitation, and job placement to a diverse group of Ohio citizens; and

WHEREAS, blind people must have effective training in specialized skills in order to be successfully employed and integrated into the economic fabric of the state and nation; and

WHEREAS, state vocational rehabilitation programs are mandated by federal and state law and designated and monitored by the United States Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration to provide such services; and

WHEREAS, effective vocational rehabilitation requires that administrators, supervisors, and counselors providing these necessary services to the blind have an absolute belief in the capacity of the blind and possess a thorough understanding of the non visual and low-vision strategies and adaptive technologies necessary for successful rehabilitation of their clients; and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired has far too few counselors serving blind clients and is not a distinct and separately functioning entity from the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation providing services to blind Ohioans and does not have supervisors specifically charged with providing services to the blind; and

WHEREAS, the extensive services often necessary for blind clients are rarely understood by those serving as Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired supervisors and administrators, despite federal and state requirements for individualized services, which leads to pernicious delays and unjust, incompetent, and illegal denial of legitimate services and/or the exercise of federally mandated informed choice; and

WHEREAS, the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities agency recently created new policies regarding time limits in which services must be provided without giving consideration to blind clients or the policy’s impact on those blind clients when developing these arbitrary and capricious restrictions; and

WHEREAS, the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities agency, which houses the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired, has time and time and time again submitted a budget which does not allow the state to take full advantage of significant federal 110 dollars, which can be drawn down in direct support of adjustment, training, and job placement for blind people; and

WHEREAS, the blind of Ohio can no longer stand by while inadequate services are delivered through the current administrative structure; and

WHEREAS, irrefutable evidence exists from the many states that have separate, identifiable services for the blind that better outcomes and reduced costs result from a separate state agency model:
Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio in Convention assembled this twenty-second day of November, 2015, in the City of Independence, Ohio, that this organization call upon the President of the Ohio Senate and the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives to convene a special ad hoc committee of the General Assembly to consider how best to address the woefully inadequate service delivery system of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this committee be asked to create a separate, dedicated unit within state government to provide the targeted expertise necessary to enhance quality of life and improve employment outcomes for Ohio’s blind citizens.