14:15 PM

Ohio State honored with 2022 Governor’s Inclusive Employer Award

Award recognizes commitment to individuals with disabilities in the workplace

The Ohio State University and the Wexner Medical Center were honored with the 2022 Governor’s Inclusive Employer Award today.

In 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order that established Ohio as a disability inclusion state and a model employer of individuals with disabilities. The award is presented to employers that meet the criteria for having a workplace inclusive of individuals with disabilities.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Director of the Office of Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Kevin Miller presented the award to Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson; Jeff Risinger, Ohio State’s senior vice president of talent, culture and human resources; and medical center interim co-leaders Dr. Andrew Thomas and Jay Anderson.

Governor’s Inclusive Employer Award ceremony (L-R) Jay Anderson, Director Kevin Miller, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Jeff Risinger, Pres. Kristina Johnson, Andrew Thomas“It’s such a great privilege for The Ohio State University to be recognized as an inclusive workplace, from our recruitment and hiring practices to supporting our faculty, staff and students with workplace accommodations and accessibility,” Johnson said. “I’m delighted to receive, on behalf of this incredible institution, the Governor’s Inclusive Employer Award, and on behalf of all of those who work to make Ohio State an absolutely inclusive place for everyone to learn and work.”

Ohio State provides numerous training opportunities to staff on topics related to disability etiquette, awareness and inclusion. Additionally, information on the reasonable accommodation process is provided in each job posting, reviewed during onboarding, and is readily available to current employees who may have a need for an accommodation.

“The university and the Wexner Medical Center demonstrated a clear commitment to building and maintaining a community that reflects diversity and improves opportunities for all, including all qualified individuals with disabilities,” Husted said.

The award recognizes Ohio State’s commitment to inclusion of individuals with disabilities in marketing and communications materials to “create accessible experiences where any Buckeye can envision themselves working.” 

Thomas said the medical center has cared for patients who have disabilities for generations.

“This award extends that work beyond patient care, to actually helping people gain a livelihood in our environment,” he said. “It makes us a better place to work, a better place to learn and certainly a better place for those patients to be cared for, because we understand the accommodations necessary for those individuals being able to join the workforce.”

“When you see what Ohio State does, they’re not doing it for the recognition. They do it because it’s part of the culture. It’s about what Ohio State and being a Buckeye is all about,” Miller said. “When we talk about inclusive hiring, Ohio State leads the way.”

Johnson said the university has worked to make sure inclusion is incorporated into the DNA of university programs. That includes an integrated disability team in human resources that works with units across the university and medical center to provide guidance and to establish accommodations.

Some programs include:

  • Windmills disability awareness training in collaboration with the Office of Ohioans with Disabilities to examine personal attitudes and biases toward people with disabilities.
  • A dedicated team that works with employees and units to establish reasonable accommodations.
  • An embedded State of Ohio placement counselor within the university’s human resource team.
  • Ohio State is also an Aira campus – a service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely located agents.
  • Transportation and Traffic Management provides an accessible bus system as well as a campus paratransit system.

OOD determined the criteria for the award in alignment with its inclusive employer toolkit: inclusive workplace; recruiting, hiring and supporting employees; workplace accommodations; and workplace accessibility. A five-member committee used a predetermined scoring process focused on the employer’s descriptions of policies, processes and activities surrounding inclusive employment.

The award is presented during October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

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