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The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) leads internal DEED efforts and external community engagement to reduce the disparities faced by populations with barriers to employment, including strategies to achieve the goals of the WIOA Combined State Plan. Since 2015, the OEO has supported DEED staff and partners in implementing equitable practices and policies in workforce development.

OEO Initiatives in 2021 include:

  • community engagement efforts to connect DEED to partners such as employers, nonprofits, workforce boards, and community groups
  • performance management of internal DEED program goals and strategies
  • promotion of equity goals that reduce disparities based on race, ability level, geography, gender, and veteran status
  • serving as liaison to American Indian tribes for consultation on DEED policies and programs

Over the last year, OEO continued to guide equitable implementation of WIOA, oversee DEED’s community engagement efforts with diverse communities, and align DEED’s economic equity activities with other state agencies and external partners. In 2021, OEO’s internal focus is on individualized coaching to support teams working on their equity goals. Early work has started with VRS, CareerForce, and Employment and Training Programs.

Since the pandemic began, the external role of OEO has expanded and shifted to connect BIPOC communities with information and resources from DEED. One example is the OEO weekly Community Call that provides up-to-date information and answers direct questions from community members. We use these opportunities to share workforce opportunities, keeping aligned with the WIOA state plan goals.

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