Agency adds director from Hawaii
An administrator with Hawaii's Department of Human Services has been selected to serve as executive director of the state Rehabilitation Services Department. Joe Cordova, who served the past seven years as an administrator in Hawaii's vocational rehabilitation services division, will start his new duties Sept. 3. Cordova, who has 35 years of federal and state experience dealing with disability services, was the first person with a disability to lead that division. He was born legally blind. David Ligon, chief of staff for the state Rehabilitation Services Department, is serving as acting director. Cordova will direct more than 1,000 state employees who served 92,070 Oklahomans with disabilities in 2012. Agency programs focus on vocational rehabilitation, employment, independent living, residential and outreach education programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits. During his tenure in Hawaii, the average wages of clients increased every year. His accomplishments included establishing a new service center for Hawaiians who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. He will succeed Michael O'Brien, who resigned in April because of personal matters.