Case made for CAO, WIOA funds

Published 12:56 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Who will control federal funds that help support the Ohio Means Jobs One Stop Center on South Second Street remains under debate.

At their monthly work session on Tuesday, two of the Lawrence County Commissioners heard from Jon Trott, executive director of the Area 7 Workforce Board that oversees the Work Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds. That money accounts for approximately $300,000 of the local One Stop’s budget.

Right now the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization controls the WIOA funds, but in July two commissioners — Les Boggs and Freddie Hayes Jr. — voted in favor of a resolution to change the WIOA fund administrator to the county’s department of job and family services.

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Earlier this month a second resolution postponed that change to Oct. 1, the start of a new fiscal quarter.

Even though WIOA only makes up a minor part of the One Stop budget, the CAO uses the funds to enable it to take in partners that help cover overhead costs of programs.

A section of the recently passed state budget bill requires the county commission to choose a lead entity to coordinate WIOA and TANF or temporary assistance to needy families funds. TANF is administered by the DJFS.

Boggs contends it is mandatory there can only be one administrator for the two funds.

“This is not an option,” Boggs said to Trott. “This is the law. TANF and WIOA need to be together.”

“That is not correct,” Trott said. “Only a certain portion of TANF and a portion of WIOA be conducted under a single entity. It is not required to be consolidated into a lead agency.”

Trott then said the current One Stop program in Lawrence County is one of the best run in the state with on average 21,000 visits a year.

“That is a huge number for a community this size,” he said. “If you see large numbers coming through, you will see an active outreach and working with businesses. These are particularly high numbers.”

“This is working,” said commissioner Bill Pratt who wants the CAO to remain the administrator of the WIOA funds.

So far Hayes supports Boggs’ position.

If the commission doesn’t take another vote before Oct. 1, control of the WIOA funds will go to the DJFS.