THE VOICE
Vision · Opportunities · Innovation · Choices · Expertise
Photo of Dacia Johnson OCB Executive Director
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
Governor Brown’s Action Plan for Oregon includes supporting Oregon’s job seekers in obtaining job training that lead to careers, optimizing the success for Oregon’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, and good government. The Commission for the Blind is doing its part to implement Governor Brown’s plan. This newsletter features success stories of Oregonians who are blind running small businesses and working in leadership roles to advance public policy on disability.  We are proud of the implementation of our evidenced-based vocational rehabilitation strategies which were featured in a national journal article .

Our agency is working to support Oregon-based businesses in their efforts to hire and retain a diverse workforce. As a core partner in the Oregon workforce system, we strive to optimize job seeker and employer experiences. 
I hope that you enjoy reading more about our agency’s mission in action!
OCB VR SUCCESS STORIES
JONATHAN SIMEONE- CITY OF PORTLAND DISABILITY EQUITY SPECIALIST
As the city of Portland Disability Equity Specialist, Jonathan works primarily on the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Compliance Program and with the Portland Commission on Disability. Jonathan helps to develop policies, rules, and guidance to address systematic noncompliance. A graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Jonathan holds a law license from the state of Massachusetts. Prior to working with the city of Portland, he worked for Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, California and the American Bar Association in Washington, DC.
CARINA COMER- OWNER, CARINA'S BAKERY
Based in downtown Beaverton, Carina’s Bakery specializes in scratch-made Scandinavian vegan baked goods and sandwiches featuring locally sourced Oregon ingredients. Carina’s Bakery employs the unique skills of individuals with disabilities who bake to thrive and taste the passion! In addition to the filberts, Marionberries, tea, and spice that make her recipes sing, Carina instills a sense of responsibility and ethical practices in everything she bakes. She chooses not to include any ingredients derived from animals and believes “eating vegan is a step toward a compassionate, connective, and innovative life.” 
OCB IS ENGAGED!
Around the state our Business Relations Coordinators (BRCs) work with local businesses to forge new relationships and foster lasting partnerships. Helping us on this front is the Oregon State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) a group of 15-25 consumers, advocates, business and community representatives appointed by Oregon's Governor to provide VR with an external, consumer-oriented perspective.  Morgan Rincon, an OCB BRC, is a member of the SRC’s Business Engagement Committee which was created to build relationships, provide education and support on disability and inclusion topics, and respond to the needs of Oregon employers.

OCB/SRC AWARD CEREMONY
On Friday, February 1, 2019 OCB presented the Salem-based business Create A Memory with the OCB/SRC Employer Recognition Award. Create A Memory , a fused glass studio where you can also paint your own pottery, was recognized for hosting a student from the Salem 2018 OCB Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP).
FEATURED WORKFORCE PARTNERSHIP
The state of Oregon authorizes nine business-led workforce boards to coordinate with public agencies, community organizations, and businesses to oversee development services and initiatives. OMEP has been contracted by seven of these boards to lead One Stop Operator and continuous improvement teams. OCB, the Oregon Employment Department, East Cascades Works, Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Department of Human Services are currently involved in the OMEP Value Stream Mapping process in The Dalles, Klamath Falls, and Redmond.
Photo of Redmond Oregon Main Street
OCB BRCs work with OMEP to advocate for their clients by explaining how Oregonians with vision loss experience the WorkSource Centers, and providing accessibility information and resources that include facilities, programming, and services.
“OCB's participation in the continuous improvement efforts happening in the one-stop centers across the state is instrumental in the success of creating a truly integrated system, where all partners have a voice in change, and creating a customer experience that far surpasses all of our wildest dreams.”   

– Kendall Lenhares, OMEP facilitator for the
Central and Southern Oregon region
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