Director's Corner

From the Director

On Friday, December 16, Director John Martin visited UCO Industries in Marysville to learn more about their business and take a tour of their facility. UCO (pronounced “You-See-Oh”) is a not-for-profit corporation providing employment to people with and without developmental disabilities.

“We are setting people up for success,” notes CEO Amanda Eley.

In 1990, UCO leveraged its location and partnered with Honda of America to assemble the owner manual kits included with all new Honda vehicles. Kits are shipped from UCO to Honda plants across North America (two in Canada, two in Mexico, and four in the United States). This substantial operation is housed within 72,000 square feet of warehouse space where assembly, shipping, and office operations are located.  Employees at UCO handle over 13 million parts and ship almost 1.5 million owner manual kits every year; a task that is not quite as straightforward as it sounds since there are 69 different versions of the owner manual kit for the Honda Accord alone.

This strong partnership continues to grow, as this year UCO was rewarded with an additional contract to assemble front license plate kits. “That was exciting to share with all of the employees. That due to their hard work, we had new work. They were ready to jump on it right then.” Eley acknowledges.

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UCO has also diversified their portfolio by adding similar partnerships with local companies like Icon Blue, Alpha Container, Tool Technologies, and Ohio Laser. The company also acquired and operates File 13, a document destruction company, which operates in the back of their Marysville warehouse.

Once a site focused on vocational habilitation run by the Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities under the name U-Co, the company separated from the board in 2013, removed the hyphen, and began to grow their operations as UCO Industries. “It’s the start of making a cultural change, and it’s going to take time. It shows that there is a difference from when we were county-board-run and it was just about day-hab services, to really say that we have a new look and new expectations,” Eley remarks.

The UCO board of directors and administration pride themselves on their ability to provide long-term meaningful work that allows for personal and professional growth, while learning new skills and earning an income in an integrated work setting. UCO’s mission and decisions have led them to receive five delivery and quality excellence awards from Honda. “Through all of the recent change, our mission has remained the same. And that’s what guides all of our decisions,” Eley notes.

“What we provide is meaningful employment for individuals and a place they can work long-term. We are building a culture, and our end goal is not to get everyone out. It’s to get people to stay here, develop here, and want to work here.

For the Data-Geeks

Director Martin is affectionately known as a bit of a “data-geek”!  The Department’s Data Warehouse keeps him up to date with a network of data that tells the story of those accessing DD services.

Growth in Waiver Participants 2009-2015

Easy Read Data

More about the Data Warehouse.


About The CMS Transition Plan
In January 2014, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new requirements for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers administered by states.

Ohio's Plan for transitioning into compliance has gotten an initial approval by CMS and is underway.

Learn more about how these changes affect providers and people accessing waiver services. ​See Ohio's Transition Plan.
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Department  Budget
HB 483Developmental Disabilities Mid-Biennium Review Bill, improves continuity of care as children grow older by making DODD the lead agency for the Early Intervention program and makes it easier for direct care staff to tend to individuals' medical needs among other initiatives.

Read Director Martin's Testimony

HB 64, Developmental Disabilities Biennial Budget FY2016-17, invested $286 million in Ohioans with developmental disabilities. The largest one-time investment in the system increased opportunities for individuals to live and work the community. It added 3,000 new waivers, and allowed for a much-deserved wage increase for direct care staff.​ ​ ​
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Legislation Update

Director Martin responds to Class Action Complaint

See the Department’s Motion to Dismiss, filed June 27, 2016

Class Action Complaint



Latest From Director Martin

1024px-Speaker_Icon.svg.pngDirector John Martin joined Sunny 95's Perspective morning show to discuss the benefits of Ohio Shared Living.  (10.19.16) Listen


1024px-Speaker_Icon.svg.pngDirector Martin visits Sunny 95 to discuss Employment First (4.27.16) Listen


Strategic Planning Leadership

In 2013, DODD convened a Strategic Leadership Planning Group (SPLG) to create a shared vision of the future of developmental disability services in Ohio. The group generated twenty-four, ten-year benchmarks summarized in their Final Report, (December 2015). 

To read more about the Department's progress towards achieving the benchmarks defined by the SPLG, see the March 2016 Progress Report.