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2022 has been a year of change, expansion, and growth. In 2022, Laura LaGodney stepped down as CEO of Ability Works.  She leaves behind a legacy of making significant progress towards quality programming, impactful state contributions through her involvement in various organizations, and an established visionary team leadership approach.  She was instrumental in securing the grant with the Red Horse Battalion which provided a much-needed circular driveway. She spearheaded bringing technology to all facets of service delivery.  Her strength and guidance persevered through the pandemic and guided Ability Works to ensuring stability while continuing to be an industry leader. 

This year, we continued to focus our energies on community inclusion and expanding services.  We worked diligently with the Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities (ECBDD) to transition a program for individuals with transportation challenges to our agency. We also partnered with Precision Automotive Plastics in Bellevue to provide a group employment option for individuals. 

We capitalized on our relationships within the community and now have more individuals volunteering and integrated into their communities.  We are proud of the community partnerships that we have established with:  First Congregational Church, OHgo, Care N Share, Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Humane Society, The Chapel, Ghostly Manor, Save-A-Lot, and many others. The experiences that the individuals have gained from working with these partners is invaluable.  

It was an exciting year for our Employment and Transition Services Team.  They placed more individuals, served more students in Summer Youth, and capitalized on the relationships with area schools to offer more Youth Transition services.  

In the state of Ohio, there are over 30,000 Direct Support Professionals (DSP) employed.  DSPs help individuals with disabilities work, live, and play in their community of choice.  The DSP recruitment and retention rate is at crisis level. On December 13th, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities launched a county-board funded Direct Support Professional (DSP) retention payment initiative for agency waiver providers in the form of House Bill 45.  This investment aims to assist Ohio’s developmental disability system in addressing the workforce crisis through retention payments for DSPs. We realize the invaluable asset we have in our staff and value their dedication to the individuals we serve.

2023 looks to be even more exciting as we open a new hub in Lorain County and focus on growing our fundraising efforts and partnerships.  


 As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”  

This statement captures the essence of the Ability Works team.  Each member is committed to being the difference maker and insightful driver behind our growth.  I can’t convey how deeply grateful I am to the Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this team.  I am also deeply appreciative to the staff here at Ability Works for their hard work and help during this year of transition. 

Doreen Ehlert, CEO

Ohio Developmental Disabilities rates have not increased since 2005 for day support services. 

We finished a 3-year-long project, adding a wrap-around driveway to our building. Additionally, we then added a third Day Habilitation room to our building.

We expanded our space

Ohio Developmental Disabilities rates have not increased since 2005 for day support services. 

We signed the lease and began preparing the space for our new Day Services Program location in Lorain, opening in 2023.

We added a new location

Ohio Developmental Disabilities rates have not increased since 2005 for day support services. 

We offered more tours to EHOVE students, working towards building the future DSP workforce. This resulted in the beginning of our internship program to allow more opportunities for future DSPs and administrative staff to get hands-on experience in the field of Developmental Disabilities (DD).

Furthered Education for future DSPs

Ohio Developmental Disabilities rates have not increased since 2005 for day support services. 

We took over the Provider of Last Resort transportation services from the county board. 

We grew the number of individuals we transport by 60%

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Ohio Developmental Disabilities rates have not increased since 2005 for day support services. 

We grew the number of individuals in the community by 62.5%
We worked to get as many of our Day Services clients into our STEP program. So we have those regularly attending STEPs as well as some that only go monthly from our Day Program. We also transitioned our Career Academy to a STEP group, allowing them the freedom of group employment opportunities and community fun/volunteering.

We grew the number of individuals in the community by 62.5%

Ohio Developmental Disabilities rates have not increased since 2005 for day support services. 

We are always so thankful for the support we get from others. This year we worked to expand our giving-back efforts. Our staff supported the Special Olympics, Care & Share, and Volunteers of America Crossroads Halfway Shelter. Then our STEP program volunteered regularly at Erie Metro Parks, Second Harvest, OVH, The Chapel, The Humane Society of Erie County, Victory Kitchen, Salvation Army, Back to the Wild, Erie County Dog pound, OHGO, Ghostly Manor, First Christian Church, First Congregational Church, and Care & Share.

We volunteered and supported 16 other organizations

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Youth Services


In 2022 were served 140 youths through our Summer Youth Work Experience (SYWE), and our Pre- Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). These services have proven essential to introducing students to the expectations, demands, and rewards of real-world employment and to reinforce these skills and topics prior to beginning job-seeking or independent employment.

Pre-ETS courses were completed with over 80 students attending over a dozen schools in six different counties in 2022. In our Pre-ETS classes, students 14 to 22 years of age participate in discussions, exploration, activities, and skill building in 5 core areas: Workplace Readiness, Self-Advocacy, Job Exploration, Work Based Learning, and Post-Secondary Options.

Many of our Pre-ETS students go on to participate in our SYWE to put their new skills to the test! Our 2022 SYWE program served over 60 students last summer. We were thankful for the continued participation of our veteran sites- Back to the Wild, Erie County Dog Warden and Sandusky County Dog Warden. This year, we welcomed Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio and Marc’s as new participating sites in Lorain County.

Students at Second Harvest and Marc’s had the opportunity to experience the job tasks and responsibilities associated with retail and community service industries. We could not have done it without our awesome job coaches and Supported Employment staff who transported, taught and guided our students through their summer job. Our SYWE continues to provide transition-aged students with the hands-on opportunity to experience and develop their workplace readiness skills needed for success in their future employment goals.

As our Pre-ETS and SYWE programs continue to grow, we look forward to working with more students to help them explore their interests and build employment skills.

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Supported 140 students in furthering their career

Not one Service Fits All

David has attended Ability Works services many years. Through the years he has participated in different services Ability Works has to offer. 

David recently was in our Career Academy, a vocational habilitation service, where he learned work and life skills while also working a minimal amount at the facility. He then transitioned out of our Career Academy into a community based program having some real work experience volunteering at several different places throughout the community like Second Harvest Food bank, the Erie County Humane Society, and the Erie County Dog pound just to name a few. 

David has also participated in the varying group employment sites we have been able to offer with most recently being Precision Automotive in Bellevue. David is a part of the crew that works there a couple days a week with a Job Coach to oversee production.

David is also a great member of his community. He has volunteered for the Berlin Heights Basket Festival, in charge of trash removal for several years. He is a member of the Aktion Club of Sandusky, attending meetings and different volunteer opportunities available. He also volunteered alongside Ability Works CEO at the Sandusky Donut Fest, where he helped throughout the day with setting up, serving donuts, and taking everything down.

Being able to provide a variety of services to individuals such as David giving the varying options, means we can find the best way to support each individual.


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Our Supported Employment department had a successful year in 2022. We placed a total of 50 individuals in jobs and served over 65 individuals through job development, continued job coaching, and additional career services.

Throughout all of our employment services, we supported 215 individuals in their paths to employment. 

Thank you to the area businesses that hired our individuals, provided a worksite for our Summer Youth Work Experience, or provided a group employment site.

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50 Individuals Found Jobs

5 Below

African Wildlife Safari

Amherst Manor


Asbury Care Center at The Brooke

Back to The Wild

BGSU Firelands

Bon Secours Mercy Health

Boots to Grasses

Cabelas Avon

CAC Headstart Sandusky

Cedar Point Sports Center

Concord Care Center

Dave’s Food Mart

Elroy’s Deli

Elyria Foundry

Erie County Dog Warden

Erie Metro Parks


Fisher Titus Medical Center

Fraternal Order of Eagles in Clyde

Freight House Pub and Grill


Friendship APL


Hampton Inn

Home Depot

Homestead Funds- Virginia

Jim’s Pizza Box- Milan


Longhorn Steakhouse

Lorain Estates

Lowe’s Sandusky

Lowe’s Lorain

Marc’s In Avon

Marc’s Lorain

Marc’s - Elyria

Meijer - Sandusky

Mickey Mart

Miller’s SuperValu-Clyde

Miller’s SuperValu-Norwalk

Neighborhood Alliance Daycare

Ohio Veterans Home

Pet Supplies Plus

Precision Automotive

Raising Cane’s


Dorn Foundation
Frohman Foundation
Wightman Wieber Foundation
Buckeye Broadband



Jerod Blakely
Katy Laser
N2Y Employees 
Sarah Furey 
Tracey Susana

BOARD 2022

Alan Furey | Board President

Cindy Glovinksy | Board Vice President
Don Kleist | Board Treasurer
Deb Sutter | Board Secretary
Tim Dempsey | Board Member
Judina Marsh | Board Member
Gavin Sutter  | Board Member
Hannah Romell  | Board Member
Laura LaGodney  | Board Member

Now Providing 24/7 Care

Since 2015, Ability Works has been providing “drop-in” Homemaker Personal Care (HPC) services to a handful of individuals.  The service consists of assisting with daily living skills both in the home and in the community, as well as providing access to the community for things such as appointments, shopping, banking, and recreational events.  

In March of 2022, we were presented with an opportunity to provide HPC services to two ladies in their home that require staffing 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  Although it seemed like a huge challenge, we took a leap into the unchartered waters and said “Yes”.  

Four of the staff that had worked in the home under another provider were committed to the ladies and agreed to join our team. This allowed the ladies no change in routine, which has proven quite successful for them.
As of April 1, 2022, Ability Works became the sole provider in the home.  The ladies continue to live independently, and the good news is that because we stepped in, they were able to remain in their home!


Thanks to generous donations, grants, and fundraising, we were able to continue growing, expanding and improving our services.
We added a third Day Habilitation Room to our Sandusky Day Service Program. Our transportation department added 4 new vehicles to their fleet; a mix of cars/vehicles and one hybrid minivan. We also were able to complete our 2019 project of building a wrap around driveway to improve our transportation drop off/pick up. 

Our Sensory Space continues to provide a free community opportunity where children and adults can learn and grow.

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$60,676 Donated


Thank you to all of our event sponsors who supported our 2022 fundraising efforts. This was a record year for fundraisers and donations.

We held our first annual Golf Scramble, hosting more than a full course of golfers raising over $10,000 to go directly to our services.

Our Sandusky 0.5K and Donut Eating Contest came together for the first annual Sandusky Donut Fest. Donut/beer tasting then donut eating contests raised us over $11,000 profit.

After a canceled show, and one over zoom, we held our annual Spaghetti Dinner & Talent Show in person with almost 200 in attendance, raising over $2,200. 

None of this would have been achieved without the tireless help of our volunteers, and sponsors. For a look at what great businesses and organizations have supported us, head to page 11...we suggest you support these awesome businesses who support us!

We are always looking to expand our fundraising efforts. In 2022 we began upping our fundraising efforts. 

We worked towards filling our calendar with a fundraiser every month, whether it’s a large scale event or a dine to donate night. 

We also pushed our staff to find more opportunities to connect with area businesses to build potential partnerships and/or sponsorships.

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Spaghetti Dinner & Talent Show
Golf Scramble
Sandusky Donut Fest
Kona Ice
Buffalo Wild Wings
Raising Cane’s
5 Below
Kroger Community Rewards
Amazon Smiles


Removing Transportation Barriers

Ability Works has recognized one of the largest barriers for individuals with developmental disabilities finding employment, is first finding transportation.
In 2022, we assumed the transportation services previously provided by the Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities. This service was designed to serve those individuals that have no other source of transportation. 

Our transportation department previously served those in our day service programs. This new service gives us the staffing and means to transport individuals to employment, participate in group outings, and access community events.

One of our riders, Chloe, has worked at Mickey Mart in Vermilion for over seven years. She is very outgoing and loves helping and interacting with her favorite customers. 
Chloe was the first individual we placed in a job at Mickey Mart. This lead to a long partnership between Ability Works and Mickey Mart placing many individuals in jobs across northern Ohio. 

$48,467 Raised

Looking Forward

Our future is built on the progressive ideas of our team. Our determination and focus will help us continue to build on the Ability Works foundation and Increase our presence and solidify our future. This is exactly what our team is doing right now through 2023.

  • Expanding our day services and opening a location in Lorain

  • Growing our community Integration service (STEPs) and broadening our volunteerism

  • Create more inclusive opportunities within our community for day services

  • Build relationships with more organizations to increase fundraising, donations and grants

  • Increase our Summer Youth sites to provide more work opportunities to transition students

  • Focus on sustainable measures that will strengthen our organization financially

  • Invest in our staff by increasing incentives, trainings and communication

  • Grow our portfolio of services by providing more employment opportunities in group settings




5 Guys
Badamy Insurance
Bait House Brewery
Balance Nutrition
Balloon Babe
Blissfully Made
Brenda and Marshall Brown
Buffalo Wild Wings
C & C Donut Factory
Capizzi’s Pizzeria
Catawba Island Brewery
Chick Fila A
Cleveland Clinic
Cold Water Creek
Coles Group/Mickey Mart
Custom Concrete & Design
DJ Swiss
Doughin Crazy
Firelands Health
Firelands Federal Credit Union
Firelands Provisions
Fisher Titus
FOP Lake Erie Lodge #17
FOPA Lodge #35
For Love With Love Charity / Noble Fun Company / H2 Properties
General Services Co
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Gutterpy Tents
Health and Fitness Equipment Centers
Hohler Furnace
Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical garden
Home Depot
Huron Donut Shop
Jolly Donuts
Kona Ice
Lindsley Insurance
Liner Legal

Mrs Fields
Nana & Papa’s Kettle Corn
North Coast Bash
Norwalk Eagles #711
Norwalk Furniture
Paul’s Carry Out
Payne Nickles & Company
Pelz Lettering
Pic Nest
Sandusky House of Donuts
Sandusky Ventra
Saucy Brew Works
Secure Sight
Sirna and Sons
The Clark Family
The Good Life Travel
Tittle Perlmuter Law
TPI Efficiency
Tracy Susanna
Twin Oast 
UAW Local 1216
UBS Financial Services
Vacationland Federal Credit Union
Vine and Olive
Ward Catering
Water Street Financial
Wolff Bros. Supply, Inc


4-H Youth Development
Dr & Mrs Harry Stenzel
First Congregational Church
Jerry & Sharon Guerra
Linda Armstrong
Ron and Tracy Guerra
Schmid Architects
The Clark Family


Dorn Foundation
Frohman Foundation
Wightman Wieber Foundation
Buckeye Broadband



Jerod Blakely
Katy Laser
N2Y Employees 
Sarah Furey 
Tracey Susana

BOARD 2022

Alan Furey | Board President

Cindy Glovinksy | Board Vice President
Don Kleist | Board Treasurer
Deb Sutter | Board Secretary
Tim Dempsey | Board Member
Judina Marsh | Board Member
Gavin Sutter  | Board Member
Hannah Romell  | Board Member
Laura LaGodney  | Board Member

Coming Up
We’ve Got Talent | March 23th
Golf Scramble | May 5th
Sandusky Donut Fest | October 14th

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