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2021 Draft NEO Workforce Region (NOW) & Local Plans Available for Public Comment

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a federal law enacted in 2014 to reform and modernize the public workforce system. WIOA requires Governors to designate local and regional workforce development areas, and requires these areas to create local and regional workforce development plans. The Northeast Ohio Workforce (NOW) region was designated as a WIOA Region and is comprised of the eight counties of Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage, Summit and Medina. There are five distinct Workforce Development Areas with their Boards (WDBs) within this Region: Ohio Workforce Areas 2 (Summit/Medina), 3 (Cleveland/Cuyahoga), 4 (Lorain), 5 (Lake), and 19 (Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage).

WIOA was the first federal workforce development law to require a regional plan in addition to local workforce plans. In 2017, the first Northeast Ohio Workforce (NOW) plan was produced and approved by the state for a four-year period. It is now due for an update.

The approach to update the regional plan in 2021 consisted of a major streamlining of the document to make it more usable, an update of the data contained in the labor market analysis, and a full description of the workforce development services and strategies for the region. The document contains four substantive sections: Introduction; Economic & Labor Market Analysis, Workforce Services and Workforce Strategies. Additionally, each workforce development area updated its local plan and these are attached and incorporated into the regional plan. Once approved, all will be in effect from July 2021 to June 2025. 

Finally, it is a requirement of WIOA that all regional and local plans must be published for public comment prior to finalization. All plans are available on the Draft Regional and Local Plans page. The comment period for the regional and local plans will end on 5/21/21. Comments on the NOW Regional Plan and any local plan may be sent to