Ohio AgrAbility to Host Workshop on Building Independence Feb. 19
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Experts from Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio AgrAbility Program will host a workshop Feb. 19 designed to help people with developmental disabilities learn how to increase their independence through the agriculture industry.
The workshop, “Building Independence through Agriculture for People with Developmental Disabilities,” seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in agricultural settings, said Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility program coordinator.
The program is housed in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“The idea is to offer information about existing agricultural models that employ people with developmental disabilities and identify resources and challenges that impact employment,” he said. “The purpose of the workshop is to demonstrate how agriculture can be a viable work environment for individuals with developmental disabilities.”
Ohio AgrAbility is part of a national U.S. Department of Agriculture program that promotes independence for people in agriculture who want to continue farming after experiencing a disabling condition. OSU Extension has partnered with Easter Seals TriState to combine resources, knowledge and outreach to bridge the gap between individuals in agricultural and the resources and services available to help farmers with a disability remain productive on the farm.
The workshop, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., will feature presentations from OSU Extension, Ohio AgrAbility, regional and national experts. It will also host an open discussion on opportunities and roadblocks for employing people in agriculture and a panel discussion with representatives from a local farm program for people with developmental disabilities.
Goals of the workshop include:
- Increasing participants’ knowledge and understanding of employment for people with developmental disabilities in agricultural settings.
- Informing participants about agricultural models that employ people with developmental disabilities.
- Identifying resources and challenges that impact employment.
The event will feature opening remarks from Dee Jepsen, Ohio AgrAbility program director, and a keynote address by representatives from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Thomas Snyder, OSU Extension specialist in horticulture and vegetable crops, will also present a session, as will Patricia Wright, director of National Easter Seals Autism Services.
The workshop will be held at Ramada Plaza, 4900 Sinclair Road in Columbus. Registration is $40 for professionals and $25 for family members, and includes lunch, refreshments and any handouts. The deadline to register is Feb. 12.