Happy New Year! As 2019 is officially underway, we are looking forward to all it will bring -- new initiatives, transition of leadership at the state level, and a new focus on inclusion and what that means for people in our community.
In the first few weeks of 2019, new leadership was the common theme. On January 14, 2019, Governor DeWine was sworn into office. As one of his first official orders of business, he signed an executive order establishing Ohio as a
Disability Inclusion State and Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities
. We are encouraged by his immediate focus on creating a statewide model for inclusive employment. A few days later, we welcomed in Jeff Davis as the new Director for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.
At a local level, our Board welcomed its newest members before the Annual Organizational Board Meeting held on January 17, 2019. Commissioner Gary Merrell swore in
returning Board President, Louis Borowicz and newly appointed board members Dana Lehman, Stephen Finney and Ted Klecker. We look forward to their leadership and the role they will play in our future accomplishments.
In addition to new leadership, 2019 will conclude our three-year strategic plan. As we complete the goals set forth in this plan, we will also begin to develop the vision and goals for our next strategic plan. Our mission and commitment to ensuring inclusiveness and equality for all will remain at the core of this new plan.
As a piece of the United Nation’s (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they have established a focus on “leaving no one behind.” As outlined by the UN, “It is critical to ensure, in this regard, the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disabilities.” I am eager to see this vision become reality. As the concept of universal design becomes the standard and assistive technology progresses, we inch closer to this reality.
As you begin your resolutions and goals for 2019, I invite you to consider what role you can play in creating a more inclusive and equal community.
Wishing you all a fulfilling 2019!