DeWine tackles unemployment for Ohioans with disabilities

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Just moments after being sworn-in as Ohio's 70th governor, Mike DeWine signed six executive orders into action.

One of them works to establish Ohio as a Disability Inclusion State and Model Employer of Individuals with disabilities.

"I signed those literally minutes after I was sworn in," said Gov. DeWine. "I wanted again to emphasize how important I think it is that people with disabilities be able to work."

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Ohio is home to 1.6 million people who have disabilities, according to the executive order. Nearly 870,000 of them are of working age.

"People with disabilities who want to work, have, many times, difficult time finding jobs," DeWine explained. "So, we need to do what we can at the state level to say when we hire people — we're going to be proactive in trying to reach people with disabilities, to make sure they have a pathway to get a job."

The order lays out seven ways to advise and review hiring practices for state and private agencies. The order also issues ways to prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals disabilities and suggests practices for integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce.

Jimmy DiBlasi has a developmental disability and has held down a job for more than five years.

"I just love my job," DiBlasi said. "It keeps me very active and keeps me going in the community."

DiBlasi works for Corporate Housing Systems preparing short-term, furnished apartments for corporate clients.

"He brings a great attitude," said Mac Lawless, president of Corporate Housing Systems. "He brings a can-do attitude and he'll do anything he needs to keep our clients happy."

Lawless says integrating DiBlasi into the company was an easy adjustment.

"You know, it’s simple," Lawless explained. "I think if people realize that there’s really nothing to be afraid of or intimidated by, it’s not a complicated process. It’s very easy. And it’s very beneficial."

The order, as all executive orders, will stay in place unless rescinded by DeWine or future administration.