A special public meeting of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) Services Board was held on May 21, 2019. Secretary Jerry Oleksiak presented Shannon Austin to serve as the new Executive Director of OVR. The board of directors unanimously elected Ms. Austin to hold the position effective May 25, 2019.
Ms. Austin currently holds the position of District Administrator with OVR/Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services (BBVS) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At BBVS, she has been responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring complex vocational rehabilitation programs in Vocational Rehabilitation, Independence Living for Older Blind, and Specialized Services Child. She strives to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has been committed to creating and maintaining effective working relationships with employers, community partners, and professional organizations to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and minority communities. Ms. Austin expressed her desire to “move the needle in the state” to increase employment opportunities, including positions beyond entry level jobs, and promote movement of the ADA.
Secretary Oleksiak also took the time to thank Ryan Hyde for ten months of service as Acting Executive Director at OVR. Mr. Hyde served during a difficult time, particularly with the budgetary issues OVR is facing. The board members appreciate his efforts fulfilling these duties temporarily, in addition to his own position.