Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Governor has the responsibility to designate and re-designate Local Workforce Innovation Areas (LWIA) that administer public workforce programs. An LWIA is composed of one or more counties that provide workforce development services under the leadership of a business-led Local Workforce Innovation Board (LWIB). In 2015, twenty-two (22) LWIAs were initially identified by the Governor, under the authority of Section 106(b)(2) of the WIOA legislation.
In accordance with WIOA Section 106(a)(2), a single local area may not be split across two planning regions. Local areas must be contiguous to be a planning region and effectively align economic and workforce development activities and resources (20 CFR 679.210). There are five LWIAs in Illinois that are split across state planning regions including:
- Ogle County (LWIA 4)
- Livingston (LWIA 11)
- DeWitt (LWIA 19)
- Calhoun and Jersey (LWIA 21)
- Douglas (LWIA 23)
In 2017 the USDOL conducted a WIOA Implementation Assessment and subsequent to that review issued the finding that the State must: “identify a regional structure that does not result in any single local area being split between two or more regions.” In response to the finding issued by USDOL the State Team reviewed the requirements for regional planning areas and economic development regions and data that has been used to establish the economic development regions in Illinois and held consultation meetings in each of the impacted counties. The State Team will work with the impacted counties and local workforce areas to complete the realignment process by June 30, 2020.
A waiver from the requirement that a single local workforce area may not be split across two planning regions was submitted to USDOL and approved in January, 2019. Ogle, DeWitt, and Livingston Counties chose to invoke the waiver option. Douglas, Calhoun, and Jersey Counties opted to realign with an effective date of July 1, 2019.
The waiver from the requirement is in place until June 2020 and the State will continue to review any guidance from USDOL with regard to the waiver status and seek further guidance as the 2021 planning period approaches.