Is One Stop in jeopardy?

Published 11:08 am Friday, September 4, 2015

Could the county lose its One Stop job placement program if the department of job and family services takes over the purse strings?

That’s the opinion of the executive director of the Area 7 Workforce Board that oversees the part of that program’s funding that comes through the Work Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA).

At its July meeting during the Lawrence County Fair the Lawrence County Commission voted 2-0 to change the administrator of the WIOA funds to the DFJS. Previously the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization administered the WIOA funds that make up $300,000 of the One Stop’s budget. Because he is on the CAO board, commissioner Bill Pratt abstained from the vote.

WIOA is leveraged to bring in partners to the job program that enables the CAO to operate the One Stop.

“We do not think that you can continue to receive WIOA funds after Sept. 30, due specifically to the commissioners’ resolution,” Jon Trott, Workforce Board director, wrote in email to directors of the CAO. “Further, given that your commissioners have not signed your current subgrant agreement, we have real concerns that you should receive ANY funding this program year. We are concerned that given the earliest that a transfer of the program to the DJFS would be Jan. 1, 2016, Lawrence County will be without an Ohio Means Job Center (One Stop) for at least three months.”

That would mean clients would have to travel out of county to get job placement help.

At a work session in July commissioners voted to extend the deadline to make the switch to the DJFS to October.

Since the original decision CAO supporters have come to the commissioners’ meeting, including Thursday’s session.

Commission president Les Boggs told them he anticipated introducing a compromise to the commission next week.

“What is that possible solution,” Pratt asked.

“I’d rather not say,” Boggs replied

Since the fairgrounds meeting, Pratt has publicly supported the CAO remaining the administrator.

“This One Stop situation needs to be resolved pretty quickly,” said Pratt, citing the Trott email. “I think we should rescind the resolution and keep that with the CAO. I feel we made a mistake.”

A member of the audience asked commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. for his position.

“I’m half and half,” Hayes said. “There may be a way to work this out. I’m willing to make a decision next Thursday morning.”