State to close Huber Heights center, eliminate 214 jobs

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State to close Huber Heights center, eliminate 214 jobs

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More than 200 workers in Ohio will lose their jobs as the state closes two centers for people with developmental disabilities, including the Montgomery County Development Center in Huber Heights.

The Ohio Department of Development Disabilities will eliminate — or already have — 214 positions at the Montgomery Developmental Center in Huber Heights and the Youngstown Developmental Center in Mineral Ridge, according to a warn notice sent to the Office of Workforce Development. Both facilities will be closed.

The job eliminations will take effect on June 30, the letter stated, and the respective unions that represent employees have been notified.

The Montgomery Developmental Center, which is located at 7650 Timbercrest Drive in Huber Heights, provides services for individuals with severe developmental disabilities. The center first opened in 1981.

The closure has an economic impact for the local community in Huber Heights, said Sally Meckling, spokeswoman for the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, which represents staff members at the Huber Heights Center.

In 2015, the OCSEA represented 120 staff members at the center. They now represent 87 workers who will be impacted by the position eliminations. They are working to find positions at other facilities for the workers.

In total, 94 employees — including exempt staff, OCSEA and other bargaining units — are still employed by the center. There are 10 residents still living at the facility, and many have already been transferred to other facilities or group homes.

The state has been downsizing developmental centers for several years, including one in Springfield in 2005. Meckling said the biggest impact will be on the individuals with severe disabilities and their families.

Each resident has or will be moved to another facility, some that are in other cities like Columbus or Batavia.

“I think it has a big impact on families,” Meckling said. “The great thing about these developmental centers, it’s much more convenient to be a part of their loved ones. We know that services that we provide are in high demand.”

In Youngstown, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has worked with county boards and family members to find new homes for current center resident, who also have 10 still living there.

“The department continues to work with staff to find alternative employment opportunities,” a department spokeswoman told this news organization. “The department is grateful for Youngstown Developmental Center employees’ commitment to providing high quality care to residents during this transition.”

The closings are part of the state’s efforts to use more home-based and community-based options for development purposes, the spokeswoman said.

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