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JCBDD focusing on future with strategic plan

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities is focusing on the future with the implementation of its three-year strategic plan.

Superintendent Michael Zinno said the plan is required by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and will be used as a guide for what the JCBDD wants to focus on as a program.

He worked with JCBDD staff members for two months to craft the plan, including Business Manager Randy Cottis, Director of Consumer Support Darlene Perko, Employment Navigator/Community Facilitator Cookie West, Early Intervention/Preschool Coordinator Neysa Rogers, School of Bright Promise Principal Jane Bodo, Service and Support Administrator Steve Smith, Community Employment Services Specialist Renee Pastre and Shaffer Plaza Residential Manager Natalie Baird, in addition to Steve Long of the Mid-East Ohio Regional Council , who facilitated the process. Zinno said the leadership team gathered for a two-day retreat to complete a majority of the plan, which looks at advantages, challenges and opportunities in order to address the needs of the developmentally disabled individuals the board serves, starting from birth through adulthood.

Many significant changes have occurred throughout the JCBDD’s 50-year history, but possibly even more so during the past few years. It began with eight special needs students at Washington School in Steubenville and grew to the development of the School of Bright Promise, Jeffco Training Center, Jeffco Workshop and Shaffer Plaza. The Jefferson County Regional Spectrum Center was added in 2010, and JCBDD had to privatize its adult services by 2015 to meet federal mandates. Today, it operates the functional departments of early intervention, preschool, school-aged, Regional Spectrum Center, case management, community employment, community integration and Shaffer Plaza.

As part of the formulation process, officials sought information from customers and key stakeholders, which included families and guardians, JCBDD members, providers and school districts, to identify strategic advantages, challenges and opportunities that led to the formation of the mission, values and vision and strategic map within the plan.

Among the strategic advantages are that JCBDD has the expertise to serve a wide range of customers and has multiple services to meet specialized needs of individuals from the School of Bright Promise to community employment and Intermediate Care Facility. Some of the strategic challenges include high turnover and a lack of direct care workforce, especially at the school and Shaffer Plaza, as well as a lack of direct care providers.

Meanwhile, strategic opportunities range from the development of a transportation system for individuals and the families JCBDD serves to expanding upon the county board’s expertise in local school districts, such as the pilot program the Edison Local Schools. JCBDD also formulated its mission statement, “Dedicated to Providing a Pathway to Opportunities through Choices” and is honing its vision upon “Recognizing Ability.” Subsequently, its values include encouraging creativity, advocating and building connections.

“One of the biggest things we are focusing on is our financial stability. Without that, taking advantage of those opportunities is not possible,” he added, saying the main emphasis is employment, and attracting and retaining a quality work force is critical.

“There are short- and long-term goals and each one of the items will be addressed during the next three years,” Zinno commented. “I am excited about where we are heading. It has been two years of managing change and establishing a new county board for the next decade. I am proud of our past success and the number of positive changes that have occurred while maintaining a solid financial position.”

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