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Disability Rights Ohio plans job, resource fair

MARIETTA — Disability Rights Ohio is teaming up with multiple organizations to showcase opportunities and assistance for area residents with disabilities.

The nonprofit’s first Job and Disability Resource Fair is planned for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at East Muskingum Park in Marietta. About 25 vendors are expected to set up, including 16 or more employers with job openings, said Kerstin Sjoberg, executive director of Disability Rights Ohio.

“We wanted there to be something tangible out of this that could really help improve the lives of people with disabilities,” she said.

Some people might be able to do a job with the assistance of “reasonable accommodations,” Sjoberg said. That could include technological assistance, adaptations to address literacy challenges or even an adjusted schedule.

“Many people with disabilities won’t need any accommodation to do the job,” Sjoberg said.

Participants will be able to find out about employment opportunities, communicate with disability service organizations and hear from elected officials, including Marietta Mayor Josh Schlicher and state Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville.

It’s the first time Disability Rights Ohio has offered such an event, so they reached out for assistance from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, a state agency that works with businesses, educational institutions and nonprofits to facilitate individualized employment plans.

Other partners include the Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Washington County Veterans Service Commission and the Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living. Disability Rights West Virginia is also involved, so attendees from the Mountain State are welcome as well, Sjoberg said.

One reason the fair is taking place in Marietta is an effort to expand recognition and services in southeast Ohio, Sjoberg said. For example, the area is not covered by a Center for Independent Living, a nonprofit assisting people with disabilities. But the director of the Southeastern Ohio center is on the Disabilities Rights Ohio board and would like to see services expanded, Sjoberg said.

“We know that we’re likely not as well known in that area as we would like to be,” she said.

The fair is being held the same day as Disability Rights Ohio’s second Duck Derby, a fundraiser in which 1,000 rubber ducks will be released on the Muskingum River. The first three to reach the confluence with the Ohio River will win $500, $250 and a merchandise prize package.

People can go online to disabilityrightsohio.org/duck-derby to claim their duck for a $5 sponsorship. Proceeds benefit Disabilities Rights Ohio.

At a glance:

∫ Disability Rights Ohio’s Job and Disability Resource Fair, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at East Muskingum Park in Marietta.

∫ To sponsor a duck in the organization’s Duck Derby, visit disabilityrightsohio.org/duck-derby

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