The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) represents a renewed commitment to workforce development with an eye to the future through innovation and support for individual and national economic growth. It is aimed at increasing opportunities, particularly for those facing barriers to employment, and invests in the important connection between education and career preparation. It looks to the prosperity of workers and employers and focuses on the economic growth of communities, regions, and states to enhance our global competitiveness as a country.

In order for a state to receive Title I monies under WIOA, and as part of the process for developing the state plan, a state shall identify regions consistent with:

  • State labor market areas;
  • Regional economic development areas; and,
  • Whether the area will have sufficient federal/non-federal funds and appropriate education and training providers, including institutions of higher education and career and technical education schools to effectively administer activities for this law.

Regions shall be comprised of:

  • One local area that is aligned with the region
  • Two or more local areas that are collectively aligned with the region
  • Interstate areas contained within two or more states and consist of labor market areas, economic development areas, or other appropriate contiguous subareas of those states

Map of Oklahoma’s Four Planning Regions

One of the purposes of the planning regions is to foster partnerships necessary to reduce costs and meet the training needs of our workforce and will allow WIOA resources to be more effectively and efficiently managed. In order to receive input from valued workforce partners, local elected officials and other stakeholders, the state held nine public meetings statewide in 2015 to gather comments and to discuss the process for determining planning regions as proposed under WIOA. Consideration was made to ensure partner participation as required for WIOA data reporting. Contributions during the development process and in the comment period were incorporated, resulting in the creation of four planning regions.

The local boards and chief elected officials in each planning region shall be required to engage in a regional planning process for program year 16 that includes:

  • Prepare a regional plan
  • Establish regional service strategies
  • Develop and implement sector strategies
  • Collect and analyze regional labor market data
  • Establish administrative cost arrangements
  • Coordinate transportation and other supportive services
  • Coordinate services with regional economic development services
  • Establish an agreement concerning how the planning region will collectively negotiate and reach agreement on local levels of performance and report on performance accountability measures

The Governor’s office has identified planning regions within Oklahoma and has submitted them to the U.S. Department of Labor in accordance with Section 106 of WIOA. Guidance for the framework of the regional plan will be issued in the near future from the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development.

As the state implements WIOA to align with Oklahoma Works, it is vital that more dollars are available and used for direct training.

By creating planning regions that share administrative costs among local areas, more resources can be prioritized towards training individuals for the state’s most in-demand occupations, thereby enhancing our efforts in building wealth-creation for all Oklahomans and providing the qualified workforce businesses need to meet current demand.

Milestone Guidance Briefing

Planning Regions FAQ (Coming Soon)